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Payne v. Tennessee

United States Supreme Court
501 U.S. 808, 111 S.Ct. 2597, 115 L.Ed.2d 720 (1991)



On June 27, 1987, Pervis Tyrone Payne (defendant) entered the apartment of his girlfriend’s neighbor, Charisse Christopher. Payne made sexual advances towards Charisse. She refused and Payne became violent. Police were called to the scene. They found Payne just leaving the building covered in blood. When they got inside, they found the bodies of Charisse and her two children on the floor. Charisse and her two-year-old daughter were dead. Charisse’s three-year-old son survived. Payne was convicted of two charges of first degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit first degree murder. At sentencing, the State had Charisse’s mother testify about how the murders affected Charisse’s son. She stated that he frequently cried for his mom and sister. The prosecutor also made remarks on how difficult the experience was for the son. The jury subsequently sentenced Payne to death for each murder count.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Concurrence (Souter, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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