Murder conviction reached in 2021 Valdosta shooting case
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A Valdosta man has now been convicted in the 2021 shooting death of his girlfriend. He will now spend the rest of his life in prison.
A Lowndes County jury found Kendrick Mitchell guilty of the murder of DaNedra Sessoms. They were both 17 at the time of the shooting.
On Wednesday, the state showed surveillance video of the intersection where the deadly shooting happened. It showed Mitchell getting out of a car, walking up to the passenger side of a different car that Sessoms was in, and him shooting several times. He then walked to the driver’s side of the same car Sessoms was driving, opens the door, and she fell out. He then shot her two times more before he drove off.
Closing arguments began with the defense attorney trying to convince the jury that the only supposed eyewitness’s overall role, in the case, wasn’t credible. That witness was Kendrick Mitchell’s mother.
“When you take into consideration the lack of evidence connecting Mr. Mitchell to the shooting and the lack of evidence proving that he was the driver of the car, I think in your deliberations you will find that the state has not met their burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Mitchell is guilty as charged,” Wade Kreuger, Mitchell’s defense attorney, said.
“This was senseless. This was ruthless. This was cold-blooded. This was intentional. This was malice murder,” Zachary Register, Southern Judicial Circuit assistant district attorney, said. “I asked her on the stand do you love your son? She responded, ‘of course, I love my son.’ I asked her would you do anything for him? She responded, ‘I’ll do anything for him’.”
After the verdict, and before sentencing, family members were allowed to talk in court.
“I am really relieved that we got the outcome that we were looking for. There’s nothing that will ever bring her back, but knowing that we can move forward raising her son to know that people like him are off the streets, we’re good to go,” Jamila Bass, DaNedra Sessoms aunt, said. “I wish it would’ve been more because nothing will ever bring her back. But every little bit I guess counts.”
Sessoms was a daughter, sister, cousin and mother of a two-year-old baby boy when she was murdered.
“We should’ve been preparing for graduation and prom right now,” Bass said. “The last time I saw her was for her brother’s graduation. She sat there and planned out everything, ‘aunty, when it’s my turn, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.’”
Investigators say Mitchell’s mother was in the car with him and witnessed the whole thing. But during testimony, she told the court she didn’t recall anything, saying she was drunk and high on drugs.
“Honestly, I said since day one, she should’ve been in a cell next to him. They need to take all of her kids because she is an endangerment. Then for you to sit there and lie. That’s perjury,” Bass said.
During the trial, Mitchell’s attorney never called a single witness, nor did he make any objections. Assistant District Attorney Register called the murder “senseless” and “cold-blooded.” It only to the jury 40 minutes to agree and issue their verdict.
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