Who is Pervis Payne?
Pervis Payne is an alleged suspect who has been on death row for 32 years for the murder of Charisse Christopher and her two-year-old daughter in June 1987. Payne, as per the Innocence Project, has always maintained his innocence.
Payne has consistently said he did not commit this crime and that he was an innocent bystander who happened to be at the crime scene and tried to help.
Justice For Pervis Payne
On TikTok and Twitter, #JusticeForPervis has been trending in an attempt to raise awareness Pervis Payne’s innocence.
Pervis Payne Execution Date
Payne is scheduled to be executed on April 9 by the state of Tennessee.
Update: Pervis Payne Death
As per the nonprofit, key evidence from the case that could identify the actual perpetrator of the crime, including the victim’s fingernail clippings, has gone missing. The Shelby County Criminal Court ordered testing and on January 19, 2021, Payne’s lawyer’s submitted the results of the testing to the court, which included male DNA from an unknown third party, but it was too degraded to identify an alternate suspect using the FBI’s database.
What did Pervis Payne Do?
Per the nonprofit, Payne also did not have a motive to commit the crime. He reportedly suffers from an intellectual disability. In the absence of a clear motive, the prosecution reportedly argued that Payne had taken drugs, looked at a Playboy magazine, and was looking for sex when he approached the victim.
They argued that he attacked her after she rejected him. But there is no evidence that Payne had used drugs that day.
Pervis Payne Petition
Now, people online are trying to highlight racial stereotypes used to convict Payne, the unconstitutionality of his execution due to his intellectual disability, and a lack of DNA testing in the case. As per the DailyDot, TikTok user @positiveaf made a video detailing Payne’s case with a call to action for people to use social media to bring awareness and demand clemency for Payne.
The video has more than 1 million views. “In this country, they’ll tell you you’re innocent until proven guilty,” he says in the video. “Unless you’re Pervis Payne, then you’re guilty with proof of innocence.”
please watch this, its abt Pervis Payne /srs pic.twitter.com/PZphy0Snb2
— ender / glitch (@astroiscrying) March 12, 2021
Pervis Payne Case
A national report on racial disparities in the death penalty published in 2020 took a look at Payne’s case. The analysis, published by the Death Penalty Information Center highlighted the ways Black people are more likely to be discriminated against, from arrest to jury selection to execution.
The report said that Shelby County prosecutors used racial tropes to paint Payne as a drug user “looking for sex.”
Innocence Project Pervis Payne
Researcher Ngozi Ndulue said, “You can have prosecutors who are trying cases year after year after year and are using these same tactics. There’s a real impact on the administration of justice… We have deep societal roots in the way that “we see each other”.
“We also have deep societal roots to the way that capital punishment has been used.”
The 87-page report traced the connections between racism and executions throughout US history. Ndulue illustrated how the death penalty has been applied disparately based on race since colonial times when Black people were executed at small but disproportionate rates.