Man sentenced to life again for 2007 Wood County murders
WOOD COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texan was sentenced to life in prison without parole, for the second time.
In Wood County, Jason Payne was re-convicted for the murders of his wife and stepson in 2007.
Payne was originally given life without parole in 2010, but was given a new trial after his conviction was overturned in 2013.
"Eight years, eight years of this fear and anxiety, you know, it's been a long eight years," says Sherry Hawthorne, Nicole Payne's mother.
In December of 2007, investigators arrived at Jason Payne's house, responding to a 9-1-1 call he made. There, they found the bodies of his wife, Nicole Payne, and his 16-year-old stepson, Taylor Wages.
Lead investigator Miles Tucker said it appeared to have possibly been a murder-suicide by Payne's stepson, but something did not seem right.
"Just your usual regular, young guy, high school kid, good grades, well liked, to within a span of minutes, killing his mother and killing himself, that doesn't fit," says Tucker.
Tucker says what they found pointed to someone else.
"It was determined through the evidence that, that was not what happened, Jason Payne had killed his wife and made it look like his stepson had killed her and then killed himself," says Tucker.
Payne was arrested. In 2010, he was tried and sentenced for the murders, but three years later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed his conviction.
"They didn't rule on the fact that there was a lack of evidence or that it was a bad case, just that pieces were that may not, should not, have been allowed in," says Tucker.
Tuesday, he was found guilty again. Tucker says it's been a long process, for everyone involved.
"Losing a loved one, two loved ones for some of them, and now having to go through it again, I feel for them," says Tucker.
They are wounds that Nicole and Taylor's family members say will never completely heal.
"It never goes away. You know, you stop grieving for your child the day your heart stops beating," says Hawthorne.
We reached out to Jason Payne's attorney and his family members, but they did not want to comment at this time. The Wood County Sheriff's Office says it will take a couple of weeks for Payne to be transferred from the Wood County Jail to a state prison.
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