Darius Sessoms will face the death penalty in North Carolina if he is convicted in the brutal murder of five year old Cannon Hinnant. According to police reports Darius Sessoms would fatally shoot five year old Cannon Hinnant in front of his two siblings. Darius Sessoms who lived in a home next to the Hinnart’s family reportedly ran across the street towards Cannon Hinnart and fatally shot the little boy in the head. Darius Sessoms would quickly become the prime suspect and would be arrested and later charged with the murder of the boy. North Carolina officials have announced they intend to seek the death penalty if Darius Sessoms if convicted.
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The man accused of murdering 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant in his front yard in 2020 has officially been indicted.
Investigators said Darius Sessoms, 25, shot and killed Hinnant on August 9, 2020 in Wilson, North Carolina. The young boy was on his bike not far from his own front door when he was fatally shot
“I just don’t understand why he did it,” a neighbor said at the time. “How can you walk up to a little boy, point blank, and put a gun to his head and just shoot him? How could anyone do that?”
On Dec. 22, a grand jury indicted Sessoms on the charge of first-degree murder. Sessoms’ next court date is scheduled for Jan. 24.
Aolani Takemi Marie Pettit, 21, was also later charged with felony accessory after the fact.
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The mother of a North Carolina 5-year-old who was shot and killed in his front yard said she backs prosecutors’ plans to seek the death penalty, insisting Wednesday, “Nobody should get away with murdering a child.” The Wilson County district attorney’s office announced its plans this week to pursue capital punishment for Darius Sessoms in the August 2020 shooting, for which he has been indicted for first-degree murder. Cannon Hinnant was riding his bicycle through his father’s front yard in Wilson when a man shot him in the head at point-blank range.
The case drew international headlines and, though outraged and deep in grief, Wilson struggled to contain the crisis from spilling over into ugly backlash. Social media exploded with racist rhetoric noting that Sessoms is Black and Cannon was white. One NC leader drew criticism for making online suggestions for lynching. The community came together in candlelight vigils and around a large downtown mural, painted by an Ohio graffiti artist and featuring the child’s silhouette over the word “Innocent.” Twitter hashtags such as #justiceforcannon continue.
Days after his arrest, Sessoms’ mother Carolyn told the N&O her 25-year-old son shot Cannon in a drug-fueled haze that her family was powerless to stop. She said she had gone to church earlier that day and found him in the home they shared, unrecognizable. In tears on her front porch, Carolyn Sessoms shook with grief as she spoke, “We think he had gotten hold of something. He was hallucinating. We tried to get the gun out of his hand, but he was so strong. He was so strong.”
On Wednesday, Parker said it was difficult to see her son’s accused slayer in person during a hearing this week
“It was a lot of anger,” she said, “a lot of trying to hold back, keeping my mouth shut, not wanting to stand up and say something.” A judge still must sign off on the state’s plans to pursue the death penalty, and another hearing is set for April.
Meanwhile, Parker said she supports capital punishment in the case because “I just want this to make an example. It’s been hard, period. Every single day it’s hard. We lost a 5-year-old child.” She said she tried to reach out to Sessoms’ father, who tackled his son during the attack, but has not heard back.
“If it wasn’t for him,” she said, “I would have lost all my kids. He could have lost his own life.”