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Z'yon Person: 9-year-old boy's killers finally sentenced to jail 3 years after 'accidental' murder

Person was shot to death by two men who mistook his car for a rival gang member while he and his 8-year-old cousin were on their way to get snow cones
Z'yon Person, 9, was given justice as his killers have been served with life in prison. (Photo: GOFUNDME)
Z'yon Person, 9, was given justice as his killers have been served with life in prison. (Photo: GOFUNDME)

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA: In what is remembered as one of the saddest gang-related criminal incidents in the country, there is finally some justice. A life sentence has been handed down to the two North Carolina men who killed 9-year-old Z'yon Person in 2019 in a shooting incident.

Antonio Nathaniel Davenport, Jr., 27 and Derrick Lamont Dixon, Jr., 30 were the ones involved in the shooting of Person, 9, and his 8-year-old cousin. Person was shot twice in the head and killed right then, while his cousin took shots to his arm and was wounded. Both Davenport and Dixon have been sentenced to life in prison, as reported by People.


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A statement by the Department of Justice states, "Davenport was also a member of the Durham-based rap music group '83 Babies,'" adding that, "The rap group promoted the gang, rapping about gang life, gun violence, and drug distribution." 

What makes this already tragic murder more hard to digest is that the men weren't even after the child. Davenport had been attacked by a rival gang a few days before Person's shooting, for which he sought revenge. He had arrived that day with Dixon with the intent to shoot those who attacked him. Instead, he ended up making Dixon shoot at a car that resembled the one that his attackers drove, resulting in the fatal killing of Person and the injury to his cousin.

Z'yon was said to be a compassionate and well-mannered boy who loved playing basketball and football, and also enjoyed spending time with his brother. Person' grandmother Sandra was overjoyed at the verdict and thanked Jesus when it was read. "We got justice for Z'yon," and then went on to add, "I'm just so happy right now. For the family, I want to say thank you, Jesus, and thank you for the team that put all of this together to make this happen. I just want to say, thank you."

Davenport was wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor on account of pending domestic violence charges at the time of the shooting and the data retrieved from it placed him right at the location of the crime. "A surveillance camera at a middle school captured Davenport's Honda as it followed the victims' car immediately prior to the shooting," the statement informs. "Shortly after the murder, Davenport paid to have his car painted black. Investigators recovered a 9mm handgun from Davenport's girlfriend's car, and forensic firearms examination linked the handgun to the murder."

Dixon pleaded guilty in May 2021 and Davenport was found guilty later in July of the same year. Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead said in a statement, "Here we are, three years later, and justice has been served — with the intervention of federal authorities to charge, successfully prosecute, and sentence both Antonio Davenport and Derrick Dixon." He added, "It sends a clear signal to those who continue committing the gun violence terrorizing our communities — we will identify you, and you will be held accountable."