New trial for man convicted of double murder

Published on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 22:39 - Written by KENNETH DEAN

QUITMAN — The date has been set for a new trial for a man convicted of killing his wife and stepson in December 2007.

Wood County District Clerk’s office confirmed that jury selection for Jason Payne will begin July 14, with the trial starting the next day.  There are some pre-trial hearings also scheduled in May. 

Payne, 43, was convicted for the double homicide during a 2010 trial and has spent the last four years in a Texas Department of Judicial Correction prison hoping he would get another trial. 

Forensic experts disagreed on the evidence found at the scene, with those who were on scene saying Payne did not commit the crimes.

Other forensic specialists hired by the prosecution testified Payne was responsible for the murders. 

In a 2011 Morning Telegraph story, Payne’s family said they would never give up fighting for their family member, whom they say was wrongly convicted.

One Smith County sheriff’s deputy has said he would testify in Payne’s behalf all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed. 

However, Wood County officials have said they believe Payne gunned down his wife, Nicole, and 16-year-old stepson, Austin Wages, and that Payne would be found guilty again.

In 2013 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals voted 8-1 to reverse the 12th District Court of Appeals confirmation of the case and remanded Payne’s case back to Wood County for a new trial. 

The decision for the reversal was due to the judge in the case allowing hearsay testimony.