NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Four days after the Craven County Sheriff’s Office responded to a fatal house fire in the Jasper community, a 17-year-old charged with burning down the home entered a courtroom for the first time.
James Gizzi, 17, has been charged with an open count of murder, arson, felony cruelty to animals and felony larceny of a motor vehicle.
“If convicted of first-degree murder, the most serious offense for that since he is a 17-year-old would be life without parole,” District Attorney Scott Thomas said.
On Friday, the teen was advised of his charges and potential punishments if convicted.
Gizzi also asked for a court-appointed attorney, which he received.
Deputies said fire crews responded to the Jasper community Monday in reference to a structure fire. Marjorie Thompson, who lived in the home and was Gizzi’s grandmother, died in the fire.
The sheriff’s office said Gizzi stole his mother’s 2016 Toyota Camry and drove it to his brother’s house in Mississippi. He was arrested by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office while pulling up to the home, according to the Craven County Sheriff’s Office.
His brother, John Gizzi, 19, is charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
James Gizzi’s next court appearance will be March 1.