23-year-old mom allegedly murdered for refusing abortion: boyfriend charged

Candace Pickens and her 3-year-old son were shot in the face at point-blank range.
Mon May 23, 2016 - 6:14 pm EST
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ASHEVILLE, North Carolina, May 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A 23-year-old mother is dead and her three-year-old son is in critical condition after both were shot in a park on May 12, while her boyfriend is in custody in Ohio. Relatives and friends believe he shot her because she refused to get an abortion.

Candace Pickens, 23, the happy mother of Zachaeus, was reportedly delighted to be pregnant with her second child, but her boyfriend, an ex-convict named Nathaniel Elijah Dixon, who is alleged to have physically abused an earlier girlfriend, was not delighted.

“He found out she was pregnant and he wanted her to abort the baby,” her aunt, Irene Jenny Pickens, told The Washington Post. “She would never do that. It wasn’t an option for her, and that’s what sparked the violence.”

Zacheaus was found beside his mother’s body in an Asheville park on the morning of May 12. Both were shot in the face.

When police in Columbus, Ohio, tried to arrest Dixon, he allegedly took the woman he had brought with him from Asheville hostage. However, he was subsequently, peacefully, arrested.

Candace Pickens was described on a page started by her friend Vanessa Peterson to pay for her funeral as “an amazing mother, friend, and person… always smiling and made the best out of her life. She had recently found out she was pregnant and was murdered because she refused an abortion.”

At a vigil service in the park where she was killed Pickens’ unnamed father said he had “forgiveness not bitterness” in his heart, according to WLOS TV.

Pickens’ son, according to grandmother Mekia Waters, “is in stable condition and doing great…He’s moving his arms and his legs and he’s doing more that what people expected. He’s talking and he’s asked for juice and he said ‘Daddy.’”

Pickens had a job and was planning to attend community college at the time of her death.

Police have charged Dixon for the murder of Candace, as well as first degree murder of an unborn child, the latter under North Carlina’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act. He is also charged with attempted muder in the shooting of three-year-old Zacheaus.