Jason Payne is serving "The Other Death Sentence", life without parole (LWOP) for a crime he did not commit.
On December 11, 2007 in the town of Quitman, Texas two people were shot to death. Nichole Payne, wife of Jason Payne and her son by a previous marriage, Austin Taylor Wages. Upon discovering the two bodies Jason immediately called 911 at 9:09 AM and told the operator that “his wife and his son are both shot” and that he needed help.
The lead detective in the case Lt. Det. Miles Tucker of the Wood County Sheriff's Office requested the assistance of Sgt.Noel Martin, a Criminologist with the Smith County Sheriff's Office to come out to the crime scene and perform a crime scene reconstruction. After doing a thorough and extensive examination of the crime scene, and a rigorous examination of the autopsy report and other evidence Noel Martin, the only forensic expert at the crime scene issued his findings: Murder Suicide. This must have come as a surprise to Lt. Tucker who likely felt that Martin, a fellow police officer and prosecution expert witness would issue a finding that would support his theory of a Double Homicide.
And so begins the saga of how the police in a "rush to judgment" was free to neglect the weakness of their case, manipulate evidence and lie about critical factors of the case to support their theory of a double homicide. The prosecution was able to gain a conviction by misleading the jury based on fraudulent forensic testimony and weak circumstantial evidence of nothing more than inferences piled upon inferences.
This case demonstrates when police, affected by "tunnel vision" target a suspect and refuse to look at all the evidence and consider other possibilities, a person like Jason Payne can be wrongfully convicted. A terrible injustice was done in this case and to Jason Payne and his family. It is time to correct this wrong and set it right.
Quote appearing on Wood County District Attorney Jim Wheeler's Page. "It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys not to convict, but to see that justice is done. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. 2.01" Was justice done in Jason Payne's case Mr Wheeler? You the reader of this web site be the judge!
Quote from Judge Louis Sturns in the Texas Court of Inquiry on Judge Anderson witholding evidence that sent Michael Morton to prison for 25 years for a crime he did NOT commit: "This court cannot think of a more intrinsically harmful act than a prosecutor's intentional choice to hide evidence so as to convict a defendant facing a murder charge and a life sentence." Was evidence withheld by Mr. Wheeler in Jason's Payne's case? Read this web site to find out!
Read the trial transcripts and then read this web site to see all that was left out at the trial, the misconduct of the police and prosecution, and the ineffective defense provided by Jason's legal team.