Charles Payne has been found guilty of shooting Norm Smith, a Dallas police officer. The verdict that jurors released indicated that they did not believe that Payne knew that Smith was in fact a police officer when he approached Payne’s door. The case stems from a night at Payne’s home when gang unit officers showed up on his doorstep to serve a warrant on Payne’s cousin.
Officer Smith used a fake name as a ruse to get Payne to open the door. Payne opened the door half way and started to shut it as Smith tried to keep the door open. Payne then fired four shots at the door, striking Officer Smith. Payne testified he did not know who was at the door and thought he was being robbed when he fired shots at the front door. Jury deliberations took more than 16 hours of questioning as to whether or not Payne knew Smith was a police officer when he fired the shots at his door.
Pat Kirlin and David Alex, who were the prosecutors in the case, argued that Payne did know that Smith was a police officer but chose to shoot at the door anyway. Kirlin told the jurors that evidence did point to Payne knowing that Smith was an officer because he saw three uniformed police officers earlier in the evening. Defense attorney Ed King thinks otherwise. King claims that Payne was acting out in self-defense because he thought he was being robbed. In order to convict Payne of capitol murder, jurors had to believe that Payne did know that an officer was outside his door but he fired the gun anyway. Jurors are still in the process of considering Payne’s punishment. Payne now faces 5 years to life in prison.
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