WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A man has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old in Wilmington in 2016.
Cedric Alden Burnett, 23, was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with one count of first-degree murder.
Burnett is accused of fatally shooting Aljhean Williams on Jan. 3, 2016.
Police say Williams was walking home from a friend’s house around 6:30 that night when gunshots rang out near Stewart Circle and Emory Street. Police arrived and found Williams laying in the roadway. Witnesses recall a vehicle speeding away from the scene.
“Justice never sleeps,” District Attorney Ben David said during a news conference Thursday. “We tell our children to never give up and we owe our special duty to children to never give up when something like this happens.”
Captain Thomas Tilmon with the Wilmington Police Department’s criminal investigation division said the arrest came after they received forensics linking Burnett to Williams’ murder.
Burnett was arrested by the WPD’s Mobile Field Force Alpha and Bravo teams during a traffic stop in the 100 block of Grace Street, according to Tilmon.
“The wheels of justice sometime turn painstakingly slow,” Tilmon said. "It’s more painful for the families, but our detectives and our agencies sometimes feel that too. All cases that we investigate are important to the Wilmington Police Department... We never stop looking. We never stop trying.”
Portia Williams, Alijhean’s mother, also addressed the media Thursday.
“My son was 14 years old when he was gunned down,” she said. “The sky was the limit for him. And I am so thankful that they apprehended someone. It’s going to be a long journey but with my faith and my family, I’ll be able to get through it.”
David said he remembered meeting Aljhean Williams while he was a student at D.C. Virgo.
“I remember all the hope that was in his eyes and so many of his classmates’ eyes for their future,” David said. “That future was cut short, and we’re going to do everything we can to be a voice for him in the courtroom now.”
During a brief court appearance Thursday morning, a judge ordered Burnett be held without bail. His next court appearance will be Feb. 13.
According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Burnett has several previous convictions and has served multiple prison sentences. Most recently, he was released from prison after serving about 16 months on weapons charges.