By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
The trial of a the man accused of shooting his mother and girlfriend to death has been delayed again and probably will not be rescheduled until next spring, according to the lead prosecutor.
John Payne, 38, was set for a jury trial Oct. 8. However, his attorney, Meena Mohanty, resigned from the Department of Public Advocacy to take a new job, and Payne’s new attorney, Brian Barker, was granted a continuance, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith.
Payne is accused of shooting his mother, Cornelia Gayle Mullins, 55, and girlfriend, Meredith King, 32, to death in the Hillsdale Avenue home the three shared. The women’s bodies were found by police on Dec. 4, 2010.
The trial date was pushed back by Judge Jean Chenault Logue during Payne’s status hearing Wednesday afternoon in Madison Circuit Court. Before the Oct. 8 date was scheduled in February, the trial was originally slated for December 2011. However, it was delayed so that Payne’s competency evaluation could be completed.
Logue ruled in February that Payne was mentally competent to stand trial based on testimony from a state psychiatrist.
Payne also is charged with second-degree escape because he tried to leave the local jail while trash was being taken out Oct. 22, according to Madison County Detention Center authorities. However, jail officials said they were able to quickly apprehend him.
In addition to two counts of murder, Payne also is charged with two counts of tampering with physical evidence, theft by unlawful taking and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Although Payne’s trial has been pushed back, prosecutors plan to take advantage of the opening on the docket to try another murder case Oct. 8.
Mitchell Ray Turner, 43, who is charged with murder in the death of 53-year-old Gary Deaton, is scheduled to stand trial on that day. Turner was arrested Oct. 5, 2010, after Deaton’s body was found the night before on Liza Allen Road in the Red Lick community.
The victim died of blunt force trauma and stab wounds, according to an autopsy report. Turner admitted to striking the man, but said he was acting in self-defense, according to District Court preliminary hearing testimony from Kentucky State Police Detective Chris Short.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.