Judge tells Tennessee to hasten assessment


A state expert must complete his assessment of Pervis Payne’s intellectual disability before the hearing scheduled for Dec. 13 or the state of Tennessee must find a new expert, Judge Paula Skahan told state attorney at the time. of a hearing on Friday.

Skahan had just learned from state expert clinical psychologist Dr Tucker Johnson that Johnson may not be able to complete his assessment by December. Once its assessment is complete, the defense should also have time to review it.

Johnson said she had not requested all of the documents she would like to review before interviewing Payne.

“If you can’t do it, I need someone who can do it,” Skahan said. “It’s moving very slowly. Very slowly. I need to know what she needs and when it’s going to be done.”

Payne’s lawyers are now asking the court that he is not eligible for the death penalty due to an intellectual disability.

Pervis Payne audience:Pervis Payne appears at the hearing for the first time since 2007

Pervis Payne:Petition pleads ineligibility for death penalty due to intellectual disability

He appeared in court for a status conference on Friday.

“The Tennessee Supreme Court needs to know that we are moving as quickly as possible because there is nothing to prevent setting an execution date,” said Kelley Henry, Payne’s attorney. “… I think the judge made it clear that she intended this hearing to take place on December 13, whether or not the state needed a new expert.”

Payne, who is being held on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, is convicted of the 1987 death of Millington’s wife Charisse Christopher, 28, and her 2-year-old daughter, Lacie. Christopher’s 3-year-old son Nicholas survived multiple stab wounds in the brutal attack in Christopher’s apartment.

Payne maintained his innocence. During his trial in 1988, Payne said he discovered the gruesome crime scene after hearing calls for help through the open apartment door.

He said he leaned over to try to help, that he had blood on his clothes, and that he pulled the knife still lodged in Christopher’s throat. When a white policeman arrived, Payne, who is black, said he panicked and fled, fearing he would be considered the prime suspect.

On Friday, the state asked the court for leave to subpoena all medical, mental health, psychological and disciplinary records relating to Pervis Payne at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison, where he is in the hallway of the death.

Payne’s lawyers objected to their obtaining his medical and disciplinary records, saying they were irrelevant in determining his developmental disability and he deserved confidentiality. Lawyers for Payne have also argued that the courts have ruled against using prison records to determine intellectual disability because the prison is a structured setting.

“I want to look at how it works in a multitude of contexts, not just the jail records, but I also want to look at the jail records as they contain roughly two decades of Mr Payne’s behavior,” Johnson said.

Last month, Skahan granted Payne’s attorneys’ request for Johnson’s assessment of Payne to be videotaped.

The video will only be provided to the parties’ lawyers and their respective experts, according to Judge Paula Skahan’s ruling. If it is presented as an exhibit at the intellectual disability hearing for Payne, it will be placed under seal.

Katherine Burgess covers county government and religion. She can be reached at [email protected], 901-529-2799 or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.

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