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Former death row inmate Pervis Payne resentencing still up for debate

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:57 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:29 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Former death row inmate Pervis Payne appeared in court for a resentencing hearing Tuesday morning.

It’s been a long and winding road for Pervis Payne and his attorneys. Nearly a year ago he was granted a stay of execution, then days ago his death sentence was reversed altogether.

Tuesday, Payne’s lawyer argued that he is entitled to concurrent life sentences after serving over 30 years in prison. The state maintains that Payne must be sentenced to consecutive life sentences.

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.

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

In April this year, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill that would prevent death row inmates with an intellectual disability 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.

A state expert examined Payne and available records and could not say Payne’s intellectual functioning is outside the range for intellectual disability.

So, Payne’s death row sentence was removed and replaced with two consecutive life sentences.

Though the argument for concurrent life sentences is don’t he table, Payne’s attorneys say they are still fighting for full exoneration and they say he has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

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