The Wrongful Conviction of Jason Payne
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Results from Second Trial
Jason's second trial was conducted from March 7- March 15, 2016, 37 months after Jason was granted a second trial by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) . Jason spent the whole time i(37 months) in the Wood County jail located in Quitman, TX because bail could not be raised to release him. This presented a problem because Jason could not actively participate in the defense of his 2nd trial because communications (phone, letter, visitation) between legal representatives was heavily monitored by jailhouse correction officers and anything of consequence regarding defense trial preparation and strategy would be forwarded to members of the prosecution team charged with the task of prosecution Jason during his second trial.

So how was Jason convicted a second time?


How could a trial that was so winnable produce such a tragic outcome? How could such s golden opportunity be wasted?

Here is a brief analysis of what went wrong with Jason's 2nd trial:

The trial should never had been held in Wood County where Jason was never going to receive a fair trial. A change of venue should have been asked for and the trial moved to a venue like Dallas or Austin.

Jurors disregarded the science and relied instead on the seemingly erroneous eyewitness accounts of EMTs.

Jurors were clearly affected by the testimony of Nichole's mother, as well as several of Nichole's friends who portrayed Jason as domineering and violent; nothing could be further from the truth.

Defense should have more rigorously questioned Danny Ashworth (Nichole's adopted son and an unbiased family witness) who could have dispelled much of the testimony given by Nichole's mother and Nichole's friends about Jason's character and his true relationship with Nichole.

The prosecution, like in the 1st trial did a far superior job at storytelling which is what a trial really boils down to. The defense didn't tell much of a story at all.

The prosecution provided the seed of a motive that Jason was supposedly jealous of Nichole's ex-boyfriend Dimitri Nobles, which had nothing to do with the crime.

Defense should have subjected lead investigator Lt. Tucker to a much more rigorous questioning on cross-examination about how flawed the police investigation was and the integrity of the crime scene since that alone could have established reasonable doubt.

Defense had the opportunity to discredit prosecution forensic expert Tom Bevel showing cases he had appeared as a prosecution witness that were overturned but choose not to do so.

For Jason to have received a not guilty verdict by that jury the evidence presented by the defense had to be compelling and overwhelming, it was not.

Although Jason probably wouldn't have made a good witness jurors want to hear a defendant shout his innocence from the witness stand. Although jurors are told not to hold it against the defendant if he chooses not to testify they wonder why if he's innocent he wouldn't be dying to testify and proclaim his innocence, after all that's what they'd do or so they think.

In all fairness to the jurors they convicted based on the evidence they heard at trial which is all they can base their decision on. Had they heard the evidence that was not presented they most likely would have reached a different verdict.

Sadly this verdict is just another example of how unfair and broken our justice system is. This case is not over by a long shot.