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Attorney of Pervis Payne calls for removal of Shelby County District Attorney’s Office from controversial case

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:58 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 8:48 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Efforts to overturn the sentence for Tennessee death row inmate Pervis Payne continue as he prepares to appear in a Shelby County courtroom Friday morning.

Payne’s attorney called for a motion to disqualify Shelby County District Attorney General Stephen Jones and the entire DA’s office from the case due to a conflict of interest.

For months now we’ve been waiting for Pervis Payne’s mental evaluation to determine if he is intellectually disabled. Something his attorneys say prevents him from being executed.

Payne’s defense team filed a petition in May asking he be declared intellectually disabled, saying he was diagnosed at age 20.

Tennessee law states a person with an intellectual disability cannot be executed. The results of his mental evaluation are due in December.

But in an August hearing, the attorneys questioned whether it would even be ready and if the state’s psychologist was qualified to have a say in the matter.

“We’re going to keep pushing, making sure we’re not losing momentum here, and hopefully we can meet back here in December and hear the conclusion of the matter,” said Rolanda Holman, Payne’s sister.

Payne was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1987 stabbing deaths of 28-year-old Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter Lacie in Millington.

He was scheduled for execution in December 2020 but got a temporary reprieve.

As his petition makes its way through the court system, Payne’s execution remains on hold for now.

Payne’s hearing is at 9 a.m. Friday. We’ll keep you updated on the outcome.

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