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The father of a slain 5-year-old boy had his son’s alleged killer over for dinner just one day before the child was fatally shot in the head.
Witness Doris Lybrand told WRAL she saw Hinnant’s next-door neighbor, 25-year-old Darius Nathaniel Sessoms, run up to the boy and shoot him in the head.
"My first reaction was he's playing with the kids," Lybrand said. "For a second, I thought, 'That couldn't happen.' People don't run across the street and kill kids."
Sessoms has known the Hinnant family for eight years. In fact, he had dinner at their house just one day before the killing.
"The Lord says to love our neighbor,” Austin Hinnant, Cannon's father, told WRAL. “I have plenty of food to go around. I just wanted to be nice.”
He and his son’s alleged killer even drank beer on his porch on Sunday, he said.
The next day, as he held his bleeding son, Austin said he watched Sessoms pacing nearby with a gun before driving off.
"I was looking at him as I was picking up Cannon," he told WRAL. "I was so full of rage, but I couldn't leave my son's side. I wanted to be with my son."
Austin said he can’t imagine why anyone would kill his boy.
"Everybody just loved Cannon. He lit up the room," he said.
Sessoms was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder, online jail records show. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.
"There wasn't anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this," the distraught father told WRAL.
Cannon was laid to rest on Thursday.
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