WILSON, N.C. (TCD) -- A 25-year-old man will spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally shooting a 5-year-old neighbor who was out riding his bike.
WRAL-TV reports Darius Sessoms entered an Alford plea for first-degree murder Thursday, Dec. 29, for the death of Cannon Hinnant. The Alford plea means Sessoms and his defense team know the prosecution has enough evidence to convict, but he does not plead guilty. It also allowed Sessoms not to face the death penalty if he were convicted during a jury trial.
On Aug. 9, 2020, at 5:33 p.m., Wilson Police Department officers went to the 5100 block of Archers Road for a shooting call and found 5-year-old Cannon suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Wilson Medical Center, where he died from his wounds.
The same day, Wilson Police issued a warrant for Sessoms' arrest. He was apprehended on Aug. 10 by members of the U.S. Marshals Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
His then-girlfriend, Aolani Pettit, was taken into custody Sept. 22 for accessory after the fact. WRAL reports she pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 14 months behind bars, which were suspended. She also received 18 months of supervised release.
According to WRAL, Sessoms lived next door to Cannon’s father, and the two adult men even had dinner together the night before Cannon was fatally shot.
On the day he was killed, Cannon was reportedly riding his bike outside his dad’s house when Sessoms went up to him and shot him in the head. Cannon’s 8-year-old and 7-year-old sisters reportedly witnessed the shooting.