ANDERSONVILLE (WATE) – Friends and family of a murdered woman are finally getting some closure the day after a Nashville jury found her killer guilty.
“It’s a bittersweet thing,” Shannon Million, a friend and co-worker of victim Nikki Burgess, said. “We’ll never get her back.”
A jury found a Caleb Cannon guilty of killing Burgess, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, on Memorial Day weekend in 2014. Prosecutors say Cannon killed Burgess because of a custody dispute over their then-10-year-old son.
“It’s the best outcome that we could possibly hope for,” Million said.
On the third anniversary of her disappearance, Nikki Burgess’ body has still not been found, adding an extra sting to an already painful day.
“It’s somber. It is a relief,” Tammy Taylor said. “It’s a relief for the family, but it brings up a lot of emotions about how much you miss her. She could never be replaced.”
Her friends are spending the day celebrating her memory, wearing customized T-shirts in her honor.
“I’m thinking about just Nikki and how much I miss her and love her and that this didn’t have to happen,” Shea Taylor, one of Burgess’s best friends, said. “But he chose it and he did this and he took away something very special and cherished to a lot of people.”
Although the weeklong trial took place in Nashville, the guilty verdict is resonating with people in East Tennessee. His neighbors still remember when police raided his home on Lambdin Road.
“We just couldn’t believe what we had heard,” Leo Elliott, who lives down the street from the Cannon resident, said. “It doesn’t happen around here.”
Three years later, Burgess’s loved ones want her to be remembered for her kindness and fun-loving spirit.
“I want everybody to remember Nikki as one of the greatest people you could know,” Shea Taylor said. “Very fun, outgoing, one of the most loving and caring people you could ever meet.”
Though questions surrounding her death still linger, friends said they are breathing a sigh of relief that justice has been served.
“We’ll never see her again but at least we have justice and this guy is going to be in jail forever,” Million said.
Burgess, who died at the age of 37, left behind two children, the youngest being 13 years old.
Caleb Cannon was given an automatic life sentence for the murder. His attorney said they plan to appeal.