The father of an Asheville homicide victim has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Asheville and the document reveals heartbreaking new information in the case.
In May 2016, officers found the body of 23-year-old Candace Pickens in Jones Park. Her 3-year-old son Zachaeus was critically injured but alive nearby. The medical examiner said both had been shot in the head and face. Pickens was pregnant at the time of the shooting.
According to the lawsuit, on May 11, 2016, Pickens was celebrating Zachaeus' birthday at Chuck E. Cheese. Later that night, Pickens and her boyfriend Nathaniel Elijah Dixon were involved in an argument on the Jones Park playground, at which time Dixon shot both Candance and the child, the lawsuit states.
They were found by a woman walking her dog the next morning. The lawsuit says Pickens and Zachaeus were lying "approximately five feet from Ira B. Jones School Road in plain sight."
Dixon was arrested in the case and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder of an unborn child, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and attempted first-degree murder.
The lawsuit claims that an Asheville Police Department officer dispatched to the report of gunshots on the night of Pickens' murder drove along Ira B. Jones School Road but never got out of his patrol car to investigate, spending one minute and 44 seconds at the location. He canceled a second responding unit to the scene, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said Pickens suffered for five to six hours before finally passing away at 4 a.m. the next morning with her son lying next to her body. Zachaeus, who was shot in the face, suffered serious injuries including the loss of an eye, the lawsuit states.
Pickens' father is suing the city, the officer and police chief for wrongful death due to negligence. The document filed on May 9 claims the city of Asheville failed to ensure the responding officer conducted a thorough investigation, citing the negligence as "a proximate cause of the death of Candance Elaine Pickens."
A jury trial has been requested in the case.
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