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Pervis Payne to undergo mental evaluation determining intellectal disability

Pervis Payne
Pervis Payne(TDOC)
Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 5:23 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Lawyers for Pervis Payne appeared in court Friday after filing a petition claiming he is intellectually disabled. During the hearing, the court decided to allow the state to hire an expert to perform a mental evaluation determining his disability.

In April, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill preventing intellectually disabled inmates from being executed. Payne’s lawyer claims this applies to him.

In May Payne’s attorney filed a petition saying he is intellectually disabled and should be barred from execution.

Payne was convicted of stabbing and killing Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter, Lacie, in Millington in 1987.

His lawyer also claims investigators mishandled evidence and that his race was a big factor in his conviction.

“It’s been so difficult because the deck has been stacked against him from the beginning,” said Attorney Kelly Henry. “He’s a Black man accused of the brutal murder of a white woman.”

His case has garnered a lot of attention on social media with a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of people wanting to stop his execution.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich has previously said nothing Payne’s attorneys have presented proves his innocence.

In April she released a statement that said in part:

“This is a last-ditch defense effort to use press releases and social media to shift public sympathy to the convicted offender and away from the only victims in the case – a young mother and her young children who were stabbed more than 100 times.”

The next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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