Man charged with quadruple murder in Wilson County on Christmas Eve
Posted August 15
Updated August 16
Wilson County, N.C. — A man who has been in police custody since January was in the Christmas Eve murders of four people in Wilson County, according to authorities.
Dereck Harris, 29, was in custody for discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling and a probation violation for a separate incident. The Wilson County Sheriff's Office on Monday charged him with four counts of murder.
Investigators said Tammy Pearce, her fiancé Selby Outland, her son Shane Pearce, and his girlfriend Nikki Privette were all found shot to death one day before Christmas last year. The Wilson County Sheriff's Office said it may have been drug related and that Harris knew at least one of the victims.
For the last eight months, Jessica Taylor said it has been nearly impossible to focus on her family or business. Her mother and brother were killed in the shooting.
"Staying upset, depressed, not sleeping, not eating," she said.
Taylor said the arrest brought some relief.
"I cried, but it was happy tears. But also sad ones because I know its not going to bring them back," she said.
Sheriff Calvin Woodard said investigators worked countless hours on the case.
"It was never placed on the back burner. We constantly kept working the case until we came to this point; however, we are not stopping here. We will continue our investigation until we locate everybody accountable for this crime. Harris was known to some of the victims. The detectives followed great leads and significant evidence that led to an arrest in this horrific crime," he said.
Investigators said they believe the shooting involved money owed in a drug deal. Taylor said that makes the crime even more senseless.
"I just can't see that you could go in and kill somebody over any amount of money. You can't value human life like that," she said.
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information regarding this case to call 252-237-2118. People can report information anonymously.
It's unclear when Harris will be in court to face the charges.
Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of additional arrests.