Over a million signatures have been collected in support of Pervis Payne’s release from death row.
More than a million people have signed petitions begging for Pervis Payne, a Tennessee death row inmate, to be granted clemency.
Payne, a Black man, was condemned to death in 1987 for the murders of a white mother and daughter, but he has maintained his innocence throughout.
The Innocence Project has taken on the 54-year-case, old’s claiming it has all the markings of a wrongful conviction owing to racial bias and missing evidence.
The organization started a petition asking supporters to join Payne in his “battle for justice.” At the time of writing, it has about 750,000 signatures, with a goal of a million.
Payne’s execution was slated for December 2020, but he was granted a temporary reprieve, according to the plea. It says, “The respite has now ended, and Mr. Payne’s life is in jeopardy.” “At any time, the Tennessee Supreme Court could set a fresh execution date.”
Meanwhile, as of Wednesday, a separate Change.org petition appealing for Payne’s release from death row had received over 437,000 signatures.
Autumn Fisch, the petition’s initiator, added, “Please spread awareness about this matter.” “An innocent guy will be slain, and we must assist him.”
“Pervis Payne and his family continue to be encouraged by the outpouring of support for his innocence case,” Payne’s attorney Kelley Henry said in a statement to Washington Newsday. He is blameless, and it is past time for him to return home.”
Payne’s lawyers submitted a petition in May, requesting that a judge rule that he cannot be executed because he is intellectually challenged, a day after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill making a Tennessee law prohibiting the execution of the intellectually retarded retroactive.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled executions of the intellectually disabled were unconstitutional in 2002. But until the new law was passed, Tennessee had no procedural mechanism for inmates to reopen their case to press a claim of intellectual disability.
On Friday June 4, Shelby County judge Paula Skahan ruled that an expert hired by a state prosecutors’ office could conduct an evaluation of Payne. Skahan set a tentative date of December 13 to hear lawyers’ arguments and information from experts. Her ruling does not stop the state from. This is a brief summary.