In most wrongfully convicted cases there is misconduct by both the police and prosecution. Jason Payne's case shows just how far misconduct by the police resulted in a wrongful conviction.
The investigation, conducted by lead detective Lt. Miles Tucker of the Wood County Sheriff's Office was focused right from Day #1 to prove Jason Payne committed the murders of his wife Nichole Payne and his stepson Taylor Wages; this despite, at that time no indication or evidence whatsoever that this was a double homicide; in fact early indication showed this to be a murder suicide. A double homicide was pure speculation on Tucker's part and showed how he mishandled and manipulated evidence to support his theory that Jason committed a double homicide.
Here is what the investigation consisted of which shows how the wrongful arrest of Jason occurred:
After completing his initial review of the crime scene Tucker decided he would like to interview Jason at the Wood County Sheriff's office (Jason should never have agreed to that interview). Jason was not in custody and told he was not under arrest and was free to leave at any time (he should have left). Jason was told he had the right to remain silent and that by giving up that right anything he said could and would be used against him (Jason should have remained silent) and things were used against him. Jason was told he had the right to an attorney but declined (a big mistake). This scenario is a common mistake made by innocent people wrongfully convicted. The police know what they are doing the "suspect" does not (and yes contrary to what Jason may have thought at the time he was a suspect). Jason was innocent and had absolutely nothing to hide and trusted the intentions of Tucker (a mistake). Jason was grieving and in a state of shock from the shootings of his wife, and stepson, and was worried about who would be looking after his children. BUT it is this state of confusion that Tucker counted on to try and trip up Jason.
Tucker speculated that Taylor was shot in a location other than the bed in the garage, and the scene was staged to look like Taylor committed suicide. Evidence does not support this.
Tucker speculated that because he saw no clothes or male toiletries that he could remember in the house during his initial search that Jason wasn't living there inferring there was a problem in the marriage. Evidence questions this.
Tucker speculated because there were pallets and mattresses used to sleep on that Jason wasn't living there inferring there was trouble in the marriage. Evidence questions this.
Tucker speculated that when he first saw the wound to Taylor's face he believed it was not a contact wound, based on stippling on the face inferring this wasn't a suicide. Evidence questions this..
Tucker speculates it would be difficult if not impossible for Taylor to have released the safety lever and pull the trigger at the same time as shown in the photo of how the gun was found leaning against Taylor's leg; another inference by Tucker this was not a suicide. Evidence demonstrated at trial shows it was clearly possible.
Key Evidence not tested (murder weapon and carpet). Why? Could it be that the police didn't test this evidence because they knew it would come back and disprove their theory of a double homicide?
In a rush to judgment supplemented by tunnel vision Lt. Miles Tucker concluded from the start that Jason Payne was guilty of a double homicide with absolutely no evidence other than pure speculation to support his theory.