Family Of Boy Allegedly Shot In The Head By Neighbour Call For Death Penalty
The family of the five-year-old boy who was shot in the head while riding his bike have called for his alleged killer to be sentenced to death.
Young Cannon Hinnant was playing with his sisters outside his home in Wilson, North Carolina, on Sunday, August 9, when neighbour Darius Sessoms allegedly fatally shot him at point-blank range.
Sessoms, 25, was arrested the following day and has now been charged with first-degree murder, but Cannon’s parents have said they want to see justice done in the form of the death penalty.
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Speaking to KCTV 5, Cannon’s mother, Bonny Waddell, said her ‘baby didn’t deserve this’, adding: ‘We lost a big piece of our family… I want the death penalty. And I’m going to seek it.’ Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, said he agreed and will also be seeking the death penalty.
Capital punishment is a legal penalty in North Carolina, where Cannon’s death occurred, although the state’s last execution took place in 2006 as its new execution protocol – created in 2013 – is being challenged in court. Executions are on hold until the case is decided.
Capital trials do continue in North Carolina, but juries rarely return death verdicts. In fact, there have been four new death sentences since 2014, an average of less than one per year. There are currently 142 people on North Carolina’s death row, 139 men and 3 women.
Cannon’s dad was inside his home when he heard the gunshot that Sunday afternoon, and immediately ran outside to find his son lying on the ground.
‘The first thing I see is my son laying on the ground and it crossed my mind that maybe he just fell off his bike,’ he told ABC News. ‘As I got closer to him and I scooped him up in my arms I realised… how horrific it was.’
I had to scoop my son up and hold him in my arms as blood ran down my arm and all I could do was pray to God.
Only the day before the shooting, Hinnant said he had invited Sessoms over for dinner and they had sat on his porch together, enjoying beers. ‘He looked like he had a lot on his mind and I was cooking chicken on the grill so I invited him into my home,’ Hinnant explained.
The grieving father said Sessoms’ demeanour seemed fine on the whole and he saw no foreshadowing of what was to come, adding: ‘There wasn’t anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this.’
Police have not released information on a motive.
A GoFundMe page organised by Gwen Hinnant, who identified herself as Cannon’s grandmother, has so far raised almost $760,000 in donations to help with Cannon’s funeral and to help his family in the wake of such a senseless killing.
Our thoughts are with Cannon’s family at this difficult time. Rest in peace.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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