The Richmond Register

December 7, 2010

Murder victims were mother, girlfriend of suspect

Payne on sex-offender registry

By Emily Burton
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Two women found murdered Saturday in a Richmond home were the mother and girlfriend of suspect John Payne, 35, according to Richmond Police.

Payne, who is listed on the Kentucky sex-offender registry website, was arraigned Monday before Madison District Judge Charles Hardin on two counts of murder-domestic violence, both Class A felonies; and one count of tampering with physical evidence, a Class D felony.

He remained lodged Monday evening in the Madison County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash bond.

He is scheduled to appear in district court Dec. 15 for a preliminary hearing.

Both the sex-offender website and the arrest citation list Payne’s address as 506 Hillsdale Ave., Richmond, where the two bodies were found.

According to preliminary autopsy reports released Monday, Cornelia Mullins, 55, and Meredith King, 32, both died of gunshot wounds.

They apparently shared the residence with Payne, according to information provided by both the coroner and Richmond Police.

Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison said he could not reveal where on their bodies the women were shot. Final autopsy reports for both victims would not be returned for several weeks, he said. The autopsies were performed by the state Medical Examiner’s office in Frankfort.

Police are working with the coroner in their investigation to determine the exact day the women were killed, said Maj. Bob Mott of the Richmond Police Department.

However, Mott said the women probably had been dead inside the Hillsdale Drive home for a little less than a week.

Richmond officers were unsuccessful in their efforts to contact Mullins and King inside their home, according to the police report. They then summoned the Richmond Fire Department, which forced entry into the residence.

Once inside, officers found the two women’s bodies, the citation states.

Police in Berea arrested Payne shortly at 5:39 p.m. Saturday at the Days Inn there, “where he had been doing drugs including cocaine,” according to his arrest citation.

Berea Police went the hotel to arrest Payne on charges of non-compliance with sex offender registry requirements, the citation stated.

Payne was taken to the Richmond Police Department where he was informed of his right to remain silent and have an attorney present while questioned, according to the police statement. Payne waived his “Miranda rights” and agreed to an interview during which he told officers he had shot his Mullins and King. He also confessed to taking a lockbox containing Mullins’ belongings and leaving the scene in her vehicle, the citation stated.

Payne was required to register as a sex offender because he was previously convicted of third-degree rape of a 15-year-old, according to the Kentucky Sex Offender registry.

Emily Burton may be reached at eburton@richmondregister.com or at 624-6694. Follow Emily on Twitter at RR_EBurton@twitter.com