John Payne, who pleaded guilty last month to murdering his mother and his girlfriend in 2010 will have to sit in prison for 25 years before he can be considered for parole.
The bodies of Cornelia Gayle Mullins, Payne’s mother, and Meredith King, his girlfriend, were discovered in early December 2010, days after they had been shot and killed in a Richmond home. He was arrested Dec. 4 that year at a Berea motel.
On Wednesday, Madison Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue accepted a plea deal Payne, 39, reached with prosecutors and sentenced him to two life terms without possibility of parole for 25 years.
The sentences will run concurrently, as will three 20-year sentence on charges of theft, escape and being a persistent felony offender.
One side of the courtroom was packed with relatives and friends of the victims, most of them wearing pink T-shirts with a photo of the two slain women.
Three relatives and one friend, as well as Payne, spoke before the judge imposed sentence.
Rather than face the judge to address the court, the four women who spoke, while fighting back tears, faced Payne as they spoke, often pointing fingers at him.
Michelle McCarthy, who said Mullins had been her best friend, told Payne he had blamed his mother for eveything that had gone wrong in his life, even his mother’s death.
Payne had promised his dying father he would look after his mother, but 10 months later he killed her, she said.
“Your mom and Meredith didn’t deserve what you did to them,” McCarthy said.
King’s daughter, Say’lene Denny, told Payne whenever the parole board considered his release, she would be there to oppose it.
He also would have to face God’s judgment someday, she said.
Stephanie Bays, King’s sister told Payne he had taken “the two people who loved you most out of this world,” and she hope he never saw the light of day outside of prision.
Sharlene Evans, King’s mother, said she believed those who cannot forgive will never enter heaven, and she told Payne she would forgive him because she didn’t want him to deprive her of a heavenly home.
As the four women had asked him to do, Payne said he accepted responsibility for the deaths, and apologized for the pain he had caused their friends and loved ones.
“I’m not asking for your forgiveness,” he said. “I pray that God will bless you.”
Logue said there was nothing she could add to the comments already made. Because prosecutors had reached the plea agreement in consultation with the victims’ relatives, the judge said she saw no reason not to accept it.
Outside the courthouse, as a cold, driving wind cause the draw chain to beat against the flag pole, friends and relatives of the victims released pink and purple balloons.
While no one can ever get over the murder of a loved one, Evans said, the sentencing did provide some measure of release, which was symbolized by the balloons.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6690.
Ineligible for parole for 25 years
- Local News
Eggs fly at park
Easter has probably never been so “eggstravagant” in Richmond as it was Saturday during the annual Eggstravaganza in Irvine-McDowell Park.
For the first time, thousands of eggs were dropped, appropriately by an “eggbeater”-type helicopter, in addition to thousands of eggs already scattered on the grass below. Together, they numbered about 10,000, according to Erin Moore, Richmond Parks and Recreation director.
City awaits funds for Water Street project
Richmond city officials are still awaiting word on grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Water Street drainage project.
However, Mayor Jim Barnes said he is confident the money should come through by May 1.
Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades
Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.
KY 52 link to I-75 to be discussed May 13
While a proposed link from Nicholasville to Exit 95 on Interstate 75 north of Richmond has garnered attention and organized opposition, the state also is developing plans to link I-75 to another community to the west.
May 30 last school day for students
After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.
Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza
Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.
Ward honored for service; tech center named after him
Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.
Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts
A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.
Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.
Police apprehend burglary suspect
An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.
Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’
Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.
- More Local News Headlines
- Eggs fly at park