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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Friday, August 31, 2018

Buncombe County Man Is Sentenced To Life In Prison For Daughter's Murder

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Today, Seth Willis Pickering, 38, of Leicester, N.C. was ordered to serve life in prison for killing his daughter, Lila Pickering, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. presided over the sentencing hearing.

On February 9, 2018, Pickering pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, and admitted to killing his daughter on September 9, 2016, within the boundaries of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pickering further admitted that he killed Lila Pickering, who had not attained the age of 18 years and was under his care and control, willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation.

Pickering will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

In handing down today’s sentence, Judge Cogburn said that "there was no excuse for what happened," and stated that Pickering "killed a child to punish social services and his wife."

U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the FBI, the National Park Service and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Thorneloe and John Pritchard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.


Violent Crime
Updated August 31, 2018