“We lost a big piece of our family.”
Those are the words of 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant’s mother, Bonny Waddell, who told WRAL-TV she is advocating capital punishment for her son’s suspected killer, 25-year-old Darius Sessoms.
“My baby didn’t deserve this,” said the grieving mother of three. “He had the biggest smile, the biggest eyes. … He changed all of our lives. He touched everybody that he knew.”
Waddell went on to say she “want[s] the death penalty” for Sessoms.
According to the Wilson Times, Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, had struck up a friendship with Sessoms. And on the night before his son’s killing, he invited Sessoms over for grilled chicken when he saw the young man “sitting in his car, like he had a lot on his mind.”
Sessoms came over, and he and Hinnant sat on the front porch, where they sipped beers together. Cannon’s dad said he knows the Lord “says to love your neighbor.” He added, “I was trying to do something nice.”
The next day, Cannon was outside riding his bike in front of the house right after the family returned home from church. Soon thereafter, Hinnant recalled hearing a loud bang. He hurried outside and found Cannon lying on the ground, where he had been shot in the head at point-blank range.
“I just scooped him up in my arms and held him,” Hinnant told WRAL-TV. “And I screamed, ‘Somebody help me, please, help me save my son! God, save my son, please!’”
Not long after Cannon’s horrific killing, conservative writers began to notice the young, North Carolina native’s gruesome death wasn’t garnering much media attention. Some speculated the dearth of reporting could be a result of the alleged killer’s skin color, which is black, while Cannon’s skin tone was white.
Bernice King, the youngest child of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., tweeted Cannon “should be alive.”
The family, for what it’s worth, has said they are confident ethnicity played no role in their son’s murder.
However, they believe his death should receive more attention.
Gwen Hinnant, Cannon’s grandmother, said her grandson was “an innocent child taken away for no reason” and she does not want him to be forgotten.
“There’s a lot of leaning on each other right now,” she said. “Obviously, we do have faith, and that is part of what is helpful. We do believe there’s a higher power, and there’s a reason for everything. We just don’t understand what that reason is.”