A 31-year-old man in Pennsylvania will spend the rest of his life in prison after brutally murdering his former Wendy’s co-worker, chasing him down in the restaurant parking lot and stabbing him nearly 50 times — mostly in the head and neck — before running him over multiple times with his car.
Authorities stated on Thursday that Common Pleas Court Judge Raymond F. McHugh sentenced Philadelphia native Dominique Isaac Harris to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of 54-year-old Michael Pickens in 2022.
Following a four-day trial, a Bucks County jury convicted Harris of first-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime in April.
According to a press statement issued by the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, jurors have presented witness testimony and other evidence, including security footage of Harris’ brutal attack on Michael Pickens, 54, a former coworker at Wendy’s restaurant in Bensalem.
Pickens’ mother and stepfather stood before Judge McHugh before the sentencing to make a victim impact statement. They remembered Pickens as a compassionate person who was always willing to help others, particularly elderly neighbors.
“Michael, we love you. “You are never far from our thoughts,” his stepfather replied. “In us, you will live forever.”
Judge McHugh praised the family for their calm and forgiving demeanor, as well as their powerful statements.
Judge McHugh told Harris that releasing him from state jail would put the community at risk of another murder. As a result, Harris was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.
Pickens was concluding his shift at Wendy’s when he was murdered in the early morning hours of March 30, 2022. Pickens was bringing out the trash when he was met by Harris, who had been waiting.
Harris had been fired from Wendy’s two months before the parking lot brawl due to a physical conflict with Pickens.
During the incident, Harris pursued Pickens down the street, eventually capturing him in the parking lot of a neighboring beverage store, where Harris repeatedly stabbed Pickens while the unarmed man fought for his life.
“Dominique Harris was unrelenting; this was personal,” McElroy told jurors in April during final statements.
Harris briefly departed the scene after the stabbing, but returned less than ten minutes later and ran over Pickens twice with his automobile. Harris carried Pickens’ body into the backseat of his vehicle and drove about two miles before discarding his body near the Cornwells Heights Train Station Park and Ride.
Pickens had been stabbed 46 times, with more than half of the wounds centered in his head and neck area, including several that were so deep they perforated Pickens’ lungs, according to an autopsy.
Following the sentencing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kristin McElroy praised the Bensalem Police Department and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, emphasizing that their quick action resulted in an arrest within 24 hours of Pickens’ horrible crime.