Judge dismisses petition for post-conviction DNA analysis for Memphis death row inmate

Judge dismisses petition for post-conviction DNA analysis for Memphis death row inmate
Pervis Payne (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Judge Paula Skahan has dismissed the petition for post-conviction DNA analysis in the Pervis Payne case.

The court found the results of the previously ordered DNA testing not favorable to Payne. Therefore, his DNA petition is dismissed.

During the court hearing on January 19, it was revealed that another man’s DNA was found on a knife handle at the scene. In regards to the knife, attorney Kelley Henry told the judge, “There is male DNA on the handle that is unidentified.”

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The prosecuting attorney told the judge other evidence did not clear Payne. “It certainly does not exculpate Payne on guilt or punishment.”

“Judge Skahan dismissed the defendant’s petition today because nothing in the DNA testing exonerates Pervis Payne,” said Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich in a statement. “The evidence of Payne’s guilt was and still is overwhelming. The jurors declared so with their verdict in 1988. Countless appellate courts have said it since. Partial unidentified DNA on the handle of the murder weapon is a false mystery. It could have come from any one at any time – before or after the murders.”

Payne was scheduled to die by lethal injection on December 3. Not only was his execution delayed by the Governor, but in September last year, a judge ruled that DNA evidence can be tested in Payne’s case.

Payne was convicted in the 1987 stabbing deaths in Millington of Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter, Lacie. Her 3-year-old son was also stabbed but survived. DNA testing did not exist at the time of Payne’s trial.

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