The parents of 5 year-old Cannon Hinnant, who was shot dead by his neighbor in North Carolina last week, are speaking out to ask that the suspect be given the death penalty.
Parents Bonny Waddell and Austin Hinnant told CBS-affiliate KCTV that they want justice for Cannon, who was fatally shot in the head on August 9 while riding his bicycle outside his dad’s house in the city of Wilson.
“My baby didn’t deserve this,” Waddell said. “I want the death penalty and I’m going to seek it.”
Police said that Darius Sessoms, who has lived next door to Cannon’s father for eight years, walked up to the little boy while he was playing outside with his sisters and shot him point-blank in the head. Waddell said that the sisters, who are ages 7 and 8, “know [their brother] is in a better place” but are devastated.
“This man took my girls when he took my baby,” she said.
A motive for the murder is not known at this time. Hinnant said that he had been on good terms with Sessoms, even having dinner and drinks with him the night before the murder.
“There wasn’t anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this,” Hinnant said.
Sessoms, 25, has been charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond. In North Carolina, first degree murder is punishable by death under certain circumstances, such as if the felony in question is “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel,” according to state law.
Hinnant was inside his home at the time of the shooting, and he ran outside when he heard gunshots.
“The first thing that went through my mind was maybe he just fell off his bike,” he told WRAL. “The closer I got to him, the more I realized it was something far more serious.”
“I screamed, ‘Somebody, please help me save my son! Help me save my son, please,'” Hinnant added.
As he desperately tried to revive his son, Hinnant saw Sessoms pacing back and forth in the next yard with a gun in his hand.
“[You] can’t imagine what it’s like to hold your son in your arms with a gunshot wound to the head,” he said, adding that he was enraged when he saw Sessoms frantically pacing with the gun, “and his blood is running down your arms.”
“I agree with Cannon’s mother that we are going to seek the death penalty,” Hinnant said.