TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 16, 2020

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan ruled today that DNA evidence may be tested in the death penalty case of Pervis Payne, whose execution is scheduled for Dec. 3, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Payne was convicted in the 1987 stabbing deaths of a Millington woman and her 2-year-old daughter. Payne’s attorneys, including representatives from the national Innocence Project, have been seeking DNA testing of several items they say were found at the crime scene. Some of the items they requested are no longer in police custody so Skahan denied testing for those. After the ruling, Payne’s team collected the items and sent them to private laboratory in California. The Shelby County District Attorney's Office has argued that the items are from another crime scene and regardless of what DNA testing shows, the evidence to convict Payne was overwhelming.