Payne is charged with the November 2004 murder of four people connected with the Teazers Strip Club in Killeen, Texas. Richard Lee Tabler has already been convicted and sentenced to death. Payne will face life in prison if convicted:
During opening arguments, defense attorney Steve Lee portrayed Payne as an unwilling and frightened accomplice to Tabler’s crimes.
Lee said Payne was startled when Tabler shot the two men and kept urging Tabler to leave the scene before Tabler forced him to search the bodies.
Meanwhile, McWilliams portrayed Payne as an active and willing participant who egged Tabler into committing murder.
“You don’t have to worry about who actually pulled that trigger,” McWilliams said. “Did he help Richard Tabler commit this crime? Did he encourage him? … Or on the other hand, did he believe that he was going to commit aggravated robbery that turned into capital murder?”