Durham rapper Antonio 'Lil Tony' Davenport sentenced to life in killing of 9-year-old Z'yon Person

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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It has been a little over three years since the death of 9-year-old Z'yon Person whose life was cut short by a bullet.

It has been been little over three years since the death of a 9-year-old Durham boy who's life was cut short by a bullet. Prosecutors say Z'yon Person died after being shot while inside a car with his aunt. They were on their way to get snow cones. The shooting happened in Durham in August 2019.

The convicted shooter is Durham rapper Antonio 'Lil Tony' Davenport. Davenport was convicted in July 2022. He was found guilty on three charges of federal murder, gun and racketeering charges according to our newsgathering partners at the News and Observer.

Tuesday, he faced a judge for sentencing and received life in prison.

"I saw him sitting at the defense table. Even sometimes I would see him (Davenport) wiping tears. It seemed like this trial was very emotional for him," Virginia Bridges, News & Observer reporter who covered the trial said.

Bridges said Z'yon's cousin who was also injured that day was very emotional while listening to testimony during Davenport's sentencing.

"It was just heartbreaking to see this little boy kinda curled up on a bench crying so hard for this situation."

Derrick Dixon who was also charged and convicted in Z'yon's death was also sentenced to life Tuesday. Dixon apologized to the family in court.

"He looked at the family and he apologized. And he said he didn't think they would forgive him. But he wanted to say he was sorry and also apologized to Davenport's family and to his family," Bridges said.

What happened to Z'yon?

Police said Z'yon was in a car with his aunt, Danyell Ragland, his sister and his cousins on the way to Pelican's to get snow cones around the corner when he was shot.

Initially, it was thought someone in the car was targeted. Prosecutors say now it was a case of mistaken identity.

"To watch Z'yon's family watch the evidence and try and muddle through the day: it's heartbreaking," said Virginia Bridges, the criminal justice reporter for the News and Observer. "It was just some really hard stories to hear in court."

Bridges said prosecutors on Tuesday heard testimony from Z'yon's aunt, who said Zyon was hanging out of the back of the window talking to friends in another car.

The aunt told Z'yon to get back inside but heard gunfire at the same time.

In his June trial. prosecutors say Antonio Davenport is the one who pulled the trigger. Davenport said he was in the area but blames the other two people in the car.

The beef between two gangs allegedly started days prior at the Streets at Southpoint where Davenport had gotten his chain stolen.

"They were out this night looking for revenge," Bridges said. "They thought these rival gang members were in Danyell Ragland's green Ford Explorer."

Davenport was a budding rap star named Lil Tony and had just signed on to tour with the group 83 Babies when the shooting happened.

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