Man Who Killed Dallas Cop To Spend Life In Prison

DALLAS (AP/CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas jury has sentenced a man to life in prison after his conviction in the fatal shooting of a police officer who was serving a warrant.

Charles Payne was convicted Friday of murder instead of capital murder in the 2009 death of Sr. Cpl. Norm Smith. Capital murder could have resulted in a death sentence.

When 29-year-old Payne was sentenced on Monday, he showed no visible emotion, though his supporters left the courtroom in tears.

Officers admitted using a fake name when knocking, but insisted they identified themselves as police before shots were fired. Payne had testified he thought he was being robbed and did not know that the people outside the door of his apartment were police, looking for another man inside the unit.

Smith, who was 43, was killed almost instantly when Payne fired through the door, striking him near his left eye.

But the jury found he did not act with sudden passion, a finding that could have resulted in a sentence of two to 20 years.

Jurors reportedly told prosecutors after the trial that some of them struggled with determining whether Payne knew who he was firing at through the door.

Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins said that he was “satisfied with what the jury decided,” and said it “sent a message to the citizens of Dallas County you just don’t shoot at the police.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. john says:

    Such an injustice. It is clear the man did not now the victim was a policeman. The uniform ( even if he caught a glimpse of it) could have been a disguise/costume.

  2. wixzoo says:

    Why do people get all bent out of shape everytime some cop gets clipped in the line of duty? Getting shot at comes with the job.

  3. TH says:

    I don’t think justice was served here. If the jury did not believe Sr. Cpl. Smith had announced he was the Police, Mr. Payne should be acquitted. Clearly, Cpl. Smith failed to follow procedures to knock & announce and not stand in front of the door. God bless Cpl. Smith and his family; however, it seems Cpl Smith could have prevented all this. I hope Mr. Payne wins on appeal.

  4. P.B says:

    I really think our legal and or justice system failed this mam. He was clearly unaware of the situation. The police did not identify himself like they are bound by law to do. This man had no motives or previous criminal record. Why would he just wake up one day and decide to kill a cop? The consequences are obvious. It doesn’t make any sense to me. This mans remaining life has been stolen from him all because of disloyal friends and a police officer who chose to break the ethics of his position. My prayers go out to the bereaved family but this man should have been acquitted of the charges. the jury had to be a group of very closed minded individuals to give this man that kind of time. THE OFFICER WAS WRONG LIKE SO MANY DPD officers.

  5. john says:

    This man has never had any problems with police. he has been a good upstanding person so why such stiff penalty ?? If he had been white I wonder ….

  6. SMILE says:

    John I take that you are black. Why is it that you people always throw the race card? he killed someone and now he has to pay for his crime. Has nothing to do with race, its the law, you kill, you get punished.

  7. Reeper says:

    What in the world is wrong with you people?
    How many of you sit around with a gun waiting to blow a hole through your door if someone knocks and they don’t know who you are?
    Have you ever gone to a wrong apartment, if you had at this one you’d be dead.
    Or how about a girl scout selling cookies, care to have your kids killed?
    If you have a gun for protection, you should wait to see the person before you take a shot at them period. If he had done that, by that time he would have well known it was the police in or out of uniform.
    Then the story he though it was robbers? Why would he shoot them through the door, if it was locked they couldn’t get in. If it was unlocked then he should still wait until they broke the law by entering his castle since it was an apartment building where outside is not his castle or domain due to others living there.
    I don’t feel sorry for this murderor at all. No good man no matter what color they are would do something like this. It was flat out cold blooded murder. Thank goodness a kid or innocent adult didn’t go to his door either by going to the wrong door or doing a job (pizza delivery, census taker, etc.).

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