Death penalty remains on the table for man accused of killing 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant in 2020

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Accused killer faces death penalty for 5-year-old's murder
Darius Sessoms, who stands accused of murdering 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant, will face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

WILSON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The man accused of murdering a five-year-old boy in broad daylight could face the death penalty if convicted.

A judge in Wilson County decided to keep the death penalty on the table after hearing testimony Thursday. The judge determined there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.

Darius Sessoms is the man accused of murdering Cannon Hinnant in August of 2020. On December 22, 2021 a grand jury indicted Sessoms on the charge of first-degree murder.

WATCH | 'He meant the world to me': Cannon's stepfather honors life of Cannon Hinnant.

"He meant the world to me, just like all the other kids that are mine I helped raise," Cannon's stepfather said.

More than a dozen of Hinnant's family members showed up Thursday for the hearing.

Testimony from the first witness brought tears to the eyes of Hinnant's mother.

That witness was neighbor Doris Lybrand. She said she saw Hinnant standing with his bike in his family's front yard when Sessom ran up to him, pulled out a gun, put it to the boy's head and pulled the trigger.

Lybrand, and other people in the neighborhood, knew Sessom prior to the crime. She testified that she had never before seen him act violent in any way.

Aolani Takemi Marie Pettit, 21, was also later charged with felony accessory after the fact.

According to North Carolina Department of Public Safety, 135 people are currently on death row in the state. The last time the state executed an inmate was in 2006.