Posted on: January 28, 2021, 02:38h.
Last updated on: January 28, 2021, 02:38h.
A Bethlehem, Pennsylvania man was sentenced to at least 12 years in a state prison Wednesday for the kidnap and robbery of a slots-playing senior citizen. Hykeem Sessoms, 39, stole just $7 after terrorizing his victim, an 84-year-old woman.
In December 2019, Sessoms, 39, followed the woman out of the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem, formerly the Sands Bethlehem. It was Senior Day at the casino, when senior citizens are entered into a prize draw and receive $500 of free slots play.
Sessoms watched his victim win and cash out a sum of money, before tailing her to the third floor of the parking garage. As she approached her car, Sessoms attacked her from behind. He said he had a gun and would kill her unless she gave him money.
A Wind Creek employee told police he heard the woman scream, “I don’t have any money!”
When she refused, he kicked her shin, causing her to fall into her vehicle. Sessoms jumped in next to her and ordered her to drive.
He pulled her jacket hood over her head and repeatedly struck her in the side of the head as she drove, all the time demanding money.
But he didn’t find the winnings. Eventually, he threw the car into park and left with the seven $1 bills he had found in her purse.
During the ensuing short manhunt, six Bethlehem schools were locked down by police. They found Sessoms crouching between two vehicles, close to where he had exited the victim’s vehicle.
Since then, he has been incarcerated at the Northampton County Jail on $1 million bail. He had been scheduled to face trial last March, but the public defender assigned to represent him was forced to recuse himself minutes before the preliminary hearing because he knew a close relative of the victim.
Substance Abuse Issues
On Wednesday, Sessoms pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Judge Samuel Murray to consecutive terms of six to 12 years on each count of kidnapping and robbery. He was also ordered to pay a small sum in restitution for medical treatment the victim received following the incident.
He apologized to the court for his actions and said he hoped he would be able to receive treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems during his imprisonment.
“To anyone contemplating taking advantage of our senior citizens, let this serve as an example of the swift and immense consequences you will face as a result,” Assistant District Attorney Julianne Danchak told lehighvalleylive.com. “We will stop at nothing to protect our vulnerable populations.”