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DNA evidence from the US death row An inmate was found in part of a knife used in the murders of a mother and daughter 33 years ago, but DNA from an unknown man was also found on the murder weapon, a Pervis Payne attorney said in court Tuesday. from Memphis.

Attorney Kelley Henry filed a report on the knife’s DNA testing and other evidence ordered by Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan in September.

Henry and the Innocence Project I hope the test results can exonerate Payne from the fatal stabbings of Charisse Christopher and her two-year-old daughter, Lacie Jo, in 1987.

Christopher’s son Nicholas, who was three years old at the time, was also stabbed but survived.

Payne has maintained his innocence.

This photo provided by the Tennessee Department of Correction shows Pervis Payne.
This photo provided by the Tennessee Department of Correction shows Pervis Payne. (AP)
Payne, 53, was scheduled to die on December 3, but Tennessee Governor Bill Lee granted a clemency until April due to challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Henry plans to present the DNA test results to Mr. Lee in a push for clemency.

Payne’s DNA was found on the hilt of the knife, which matches Payne’s testimony at trial that he cut himself while handling the knife while trying to help victims after the murders were committed, Henry said.

Payne’s DNA was not found on the mango, Henry said.

Charisse Christopher and her two-year-old daughter, Lacie Jo, were stabbed to death.
Charisse Christopher and her two-year-old daughter, Lacie Jo, were stabbed to death. (Supplied)

Partial evidence of DNA from an unknown man was found on the handle of the knife, but there was not enough DNA material to enter it into a national FBI database of DNA profiles collected from convicted criminals that could be used to compare it to another person, Henry said. .

Prosecutor Steve Jones said the test results do not exclude Payne from being punished for the crime, arguing that it was unclear when the DNA was left on the knife.

“There is nothing exonerating Pervis Payne,” said Skahan, the judge.

Henry and the Innocence Project disagreed.

“The DNA testing results are consistent with Pervis Payne’s longstanding claim of innocence,” the Innocence Project said in a statement.

“Male DNA from an unknown third party was found in key evidence, including the murder weapon, but sadly, it is too degraded to identify an alternate suspect through the FBI database.”

Pervis Payne has maintained her innocence for more than 30 years.
Pervis Payne has maintained her innocence for more than 30 years. (AP)

At the time of Payne’s trial, DNA evidence for the evidence was not available and no evidence had been conducted in his case.

An earlier request for DNA testing in 2006 was rejected based on a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that has since been overturned.

Payne, who is black, told police that he was at Ms. Christopher’s apartment building to meet his girlfriend when he heard from the victims, who were white, and tried to help them.

He said he panicked when he saw a white cop and ran away.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee postponed Payne's execution until April.  (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey, file)
Governor Bill Lee postponed Payne’s execution until April. (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey, file) (AP)

Prosecutors said Payne was high on cocaine and seeking sex when he killed Ms. Christopher and her daughter in a “drug-induced frenzy.”

Court documents say police focused almost exclusively on Payne as a suspect, although nothing in his history suggested he would commit such a crime.

He was the son of a minister who had an intellectual disability and never caused problems as a child or as a teenager, his lawyers have argued.

State law does not have a way for people who have already been convicted to reopen their cases and demonstrate an intellectual disability.

Inside America’s Chambers of Death

The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators has vowed to change that, previously introducing a bill that would give Payne and others the opportunity to prove their disabilities in court.

Ms. Henry also complained that Christopher’s nail scrapes, collected at the crime scene, could not be analyzed.

Authorities have been unable to locate them in two rooms on the property and a forensic center where evidence has been kept since the trial.

“We still want to know where the nail scrapes are,” Henry said in court.

“They are not available,” Judge Skahan said dryly.

Payne was the fourth death row inmate in Tennessee to receive a clemency in 2020 due to the virus.


www.9news.com.au

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