16 July 2019 :
Victim's family asks prosecutors to drop death penalty. A North Carolina district attorney says the family of a murder victim has persuaded prosecutors to drop the death penalty for a man convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and permanently injuring her 3-year-old son. Nathaniel Dixon, 27, Black, was convicted last month of 1st-degree murder, attempted 1st-degree murder and malicious maiming. Prosecutors say he shot 22-year-old Candace Pickens and her 3-year-old son Zachaeus Waters on May 11, 2016. The boy lost his left eye and suffered a traumatic brain injury but survived. Pickens was in her 1st trimester of pregnancy when she was killed. Assistant District Attorney Pat Patton said prosecutors met with Pickens' family, who have said they opposed the death penalty and said life imprisonment without parole was sufficient for Dixon's punishment. Pickens' father and stepmother, Richard and Charlene Pickens, previously told the Citizen Times they oppose the death penalty for Dixon. A sentencing hearing in front of Superior Court Judge Greg Horne is scheduled for July 16.