Community leaders support DNA testing in Pervis Payne case

WATCH: Community leaders support DNA testing in Pervis Payne case

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn — Community leaders demand the Shelby County District Attorney support DNA testing of evidence that could prove death row inmate Pervis Payne’s innocence.

A jury convicted Payne of the 1987 murder of a white woman and her daughter in Millington.

Community leaders urged Weirich to look into this case.

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There were pastors, state leaders and attorneys who compared Pervis Payne’s case to what’s happening across America to Black men.

They just want Weirich to give the family a fair trial.

“Mr. Payne has been ignored and marginalized for three decades,” said Asia Diggs-Meador with the National Bar Association, Ben F. Jones Chapter.

Payne is represented by attorneys with the Innocence Project.  

They filed a petition for DNA of a blood-stained comforter, sheets and pillow, items discovered by Payne’s attorney.  

Weirich said the evidence is from a separate murder in 1998.  

In July, Weirich asked the court to deny the request for DNA testing.

“We know that once the evidence comes out, the truth will be known and that Mr. Payne will be at home with his family,” said Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner.

Payne’s hearing is set for Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. at 201 Poplar. His family and attorney plan to speak after that hearing.

Tennessee State Representative G.A. Hardaway said he plans to introduce legislation in January addressing cases similar to Payne’s.