Pervis Payne Vs State Of Tennessee

DNA testing of 30-year-old evidence, including the murder weapon, may exonerate Pervis Payne months before his execution date on December 3, 2020. Payne - an intellectually-disabled Black man with no prior criminal history - has maintained his innocence for more than 30 years. In a filing from the Innocence Project and the Federal Public Defender for Tennessee, attorneys for Payne argued that, given the lack of evidence and motive connecting Payne to the crime, 'the State tapped into racial tropes,' ignored other suspects, and may have hid evidence to convict Payne. Payne was 2o years old when he was convicted of murder in 1988 for the stabbing of a white woman, her two-year old daughter, and her four-year old son who survived the assault. Payne unknowingly walked in on the gruesome scene after hearing calls for help. Payne attempted to help the woman, transferring blood onto his clothing in the process. When police arrived, he feared he would be blamed, so he fled. 'His fears quickly came to fruition.' 'Police zeroed in on Mr. Payne immediately and never investigated any other suspects' Vanessa Potkin, an attorney with the Innocence Project, said. There are at least three other suspects, including the victim’s abusive ex-husband. Additionally, witnesses saw a man with blood on his shirt running from the crime scene moments before Payne entered.