“Mr. Payne acts like an innocent man because he is an innocent man. One day is too long to serve in prison for a crime you didn’t commit.” ~ Kelley Henry
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the Shelby County Criminal Court’s order that Pervis Payne’s two life sentences would run concurrently, and consecutive to a related assault charge, which means that Mr. Payne will be eligible for parole consideration in four years. Only the Parole Board, not a court, has the authority to grant parole.
“The Court of Criminal Appeals reached a just result today, but it was also the only correct result under Tennessee law. Tennessee law presumes that sentences will run concurrent (at the same time), unless the State can prove that consecutive sentencing (one after the other) is necessary to protect the public. The State failed to meet its burden because Pervis Payne isn’t a threat to anyone and he never was, at any point in his life.
“At a two-day hearing in December, 2021, the trial court heard testimony from 19 witnesses on Mr. Payne’s behalf, including three wardens and a corrections officer. Mr. Payne’s prison record spans 2,700 pages without a single blemish. Members of the community who have gotten to know Mr. Payne in prison through volunteering described him as gentle, kind, spiritual, and helpful.
“Mr. Payne acts like an innocent man because he is an innocent man. One day is too long to serve in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. Mr. Payne has served 35 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. We will continue to pursue every avenue to clear his name and bring him home to his loving family.”- Kelley Henry, Pervis Payne’s Attorney
Background on Pervis Payne’s innocence case appears at www.pervispayne.org