A man in North Carolina gets life in prison for shooting and killing a 5-year-old neighbor who was riding a bike.
Darius Sessoms put in an Alford plea for the 2020 murder of Cannon Hinnant, who he shot in front of the boy's sisters while they were playing outside.
A man from North Carolina has admitted that he killed a five-year-old boy who was playing outside for no reason.
WRAL-TV, an NBC Raleigh affiliate, says that Darius Sessoms, who was 25 when he shot Cannon Hinnant in 2020, will spend the rest of his life in prison and never get out. Sessoms got this sentence as part of an Alford plea, which is basically a guilty plea in which a person doesn't admit to their crimes but says the state has enough evidence to convict them.
According to WNCN, a CBS Raleigh affiliate, a judge ruled in October that prosecutors could move forward with capital murder charges against Sessoms because the crime was so bad. Alford's guilty plea to first-degree murder on Wednesday will keep Sessoms from being put to death.
In 2020, Bonny Parker, who is Cannon's mother, told reporters that she would fight to have Sessoms put to death.
"I hope he gets put to death. Parker said, "We will fight for that until the end." "It would be as close as we can get to giving Cannon his due."
Parker said on Wednesday that Sessoms' plea deal was best so that Cannon's sisters, who were only 7 and 8 years old when they allegedly saw their brother's murder, wouldn't have to face their brother's killer in court.
Parker said, "It gives us a little bit of peace to know that we can leave today and don't have to come back." "There's no need for us to see him. My girls don't have to go to court and say something. That was the only reason he agreed to do this. It was best for him to give in to this request so that our girls wouldn't have to go up there."
Parker called her son her "pride and joy" and said that Sessoms' actions "made us suffer for the rest of our lives."
Cannon was riding his bike in front of his father's house on Archers Road in Wilson, which is about 50 miles east of Raleigh, on August 9, 2020. When Sessoms, who lived next door, walked up to Cannon, put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger, people who were there said they saw a "burst of flame."
WRAL-TV says that neighbor Doris Lybrand saw the shooting but said she thought it was a game.
Lybrand said, "My first thought was that he was playing with the kids." "I thought for a second, 'That couldn't happen.' People don't just run across the street and kill kids."
Authorities never said what caused the murder, but Sessoms' parents later told Fox Atlanta affiliate WAGA-TV that they thought their son was high on drugs and having hallucinations at the time of the killing.
The Wilson Police Department says that Cannon was taken to the Wilson Medical Center, but he died there from his injuries.
"He was just playing with his sisters and riding his bike like he did every other day," Cannon's grandmother, Gwen Hinnant, wrote in a GoFundMe campaign. "He had all the innocence that comes with being a child." "This violent act has caused this family more pain than they could ever imagine."
After the shooting, Sessoms ran away. The next day, police found him at a house in Goldsboro, about 30 miles south of where the shooting happened.
On September 22, 2020, Sessoms' then-girlfriend, Aolani Takemi Marie Pettit, who was 21 years old, was charged with being an accessory after the fact. The Wilson Times said that Pettit was charged with helping Sessoms get away by "getting her out of the city of Wilson."
According to WRAL-TV, Pettit pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing justice and was given a sentence of four to 14 months of jail time with 18 months of probation.