Murder trial for death of Durham 9-year-old begins Wednesday; local rapper could face two life sentences

29 June 2022

— The federal murder trial is underway for one of the men accused of killing 9-year-old Z’yon Person in Durham in 2019.

He was with his family, on the way to get snow cones, when he was hit by gunfire. He was shot and killed in a neighborhood near the intersection of Duke and Leon streets.

People across the Triangle were traumatized by the violence — and demanded answers for weeks.

Antonio Davenport, 27, was charged with Z’yon’s death two months later, in October 2019. A month after that, Dival Magwood and Derrick Dixon were also charged.

But in March of this year, Davenport’s two co-defendants pleaded guilty to similar charges under deals with prosecutors.

Z'yon Person family, friends hold vigil

Davenport is a local hip-hop star with The 83 Babies, which released a music video and recorded several songs about gang violence and guns.

In court this week, federal prosecutors said Davenport and his fellow gang members were hunting down rivals when they opened fire on a Ford Explorer.

They thought SUV belonged to their targets; instead it was filled with a family going to get snow cones.

Davenport has denied his involvement in the shooting. His attorneys have argued that the rapper didn’t know anything about Dixon’s and Magwood’s plan to shoot at the SUV — and that Davenport didn’t fire a gun.

Today in court, law enforcement officers testified that they found several loaded guns and ammunition in the apartment where Davenport was arrested.

If guilty on all three charges, Davenport could face two life sentences.

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