A North Carolina man accused of the cold-blooded killing of a 5-year-old boy who was riding his bike in front of his house last year was formally indicted for murder last week.
A grand jury in Wilson County on Wednesday returned a true bill of indictment for one count of first-degree murder against Darius N. Sessoms, 25, for fatally shooting young Cannon Hinnant in the summer of 2020, Durham ABC affiliate WTVD reported.
Officers with the Wilson Police Department and Emergency Medical Services personnel on the afternoon of Aug. 9, 2020 responded to a 911 call at Hinnant’s residence on Archers Road. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders found Cannon unresponsive and attempted to perform life-saving procedures before rushing Cannon to Wilson Medical Center. Despite the efforts of medical personnel, Cannon was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the facility.
Investigators quickly identified Hinnant as a person of interest and WPD detectives took him into custody at his home in Goldsboro one day after the fatal shooting. WPD was assisted in the arrest by deputies with the U.S. Marshals Service Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force, per WTVD.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Sessoms lived next door to Cannon’s father. Immediately after the shooting, a neighbor told Raleigh NBC affiliate WRAL that Sessoms and Cannon’s father had dinner together the night before Cannon’s death. Sessoms was also reportedly at the Cannon residence on the morning of the shooting.
Doris Lybrand, one of Cannon’s neighbors, reportedly told WRAL that Sessoms simply ran across the street with a handgun and shot the 5-year-old boy in the head.
“My first reaction was he’s playing with the kids,” she reportedly told the station. “For a second, I thought, ‘That couldn’t happen.’ People don’t run across the street and kill kids.”
Making matters even worse, members of Cannon’s family said the boy’s older sisters, ages seven and eight, witnessed their little brother’s murder.
Authorities have still not disclosed a possible motive for Sessoms allegedly targeting Cannon.
“There wasn’t anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this,” Austin Hinnant, Cannon’s father, told WRAL.
Another neighbor, Charlene Walburn, told WRAL that Cannon came by her house often, usually asking her for a popsicle or seeing if her husband could put air in the tires of his bike, which she said he rode everyday.
“I just don’t understand why he did it,” she reportedly said. “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?”
Aolani Takemi Marie Pettit, 21, of Wilson, was also arrested last year in connection to Cannon’s death. She was charged with one count of felony accessory after the fact for allegedly providing Sessoms with transportation to flee town after the shooting. She was held on a $250,000 secured bond.
[Images via GoFundMe, Wilson Police Department]
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