Court orders DNA testing of crime scene evidence in Pervis Payne death penalty case

Pervis Payne The Innocense Project
Image source: The Innocence Project/PervisPayne.Org

Pervis Payne, a Black man with intellectual disability convicted of a capital crime and is scheduled to be executed by the State of Tennessee on December 3, received a glimmer of hope on Wednesday.

The Shelby County Criminal Court granted a petition by Pervis Payne for a post-conviction DNA analysis of crime scene evidence that was never tested to prove that he was wrongfully convicted of a capital crime that he did not commit.

The State of Tennessee argued that Pervis Payne has not established that he is entitled to post-conviction DNA testing. The Court disagreed.

“Having conducted a hearing and after reviewing the parties’ filings and the relevant authorities, the Court concludes the Petitioner has established he is entitled to DNA testing. Accordingly, the petition is GRANTED…” the Court ruled.

Pervis Payne was convicted because he is an intellectually disabled Blackman

For 33 years, Pervis Payne maintained he was innocent of the brutal crime that occurred in Millington, Tennessee in June 1987. He claimed that he was just an innocent bystander waiting for his girlfriend at her apartment when he heard noises across the hall. He went to try to help and found a bloody scene—her girlfriend’s neighbor, Charisse Christopher, and her children were brutally attacked.