- Associated Press - Friday, July 12, 2019

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - 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.

Ashville Citizen-Times reports 27-year-old Nathaniel Dixon was convicted last month of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and malicious maiming. Prosecutors say he shot 22-year-old Candace Pickens and her 3-year-old in 2016. The boy lost his left eye and suffered a traumatic brain injury but survived. Pickens was in her first 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.

A sentencing hearing is set for July 16.

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