20 September 1934 – New Trial Asked by the Payne Sisters
Glasgow Times’ article
“Notie Dunbar and Dora Payne, sisters, sentenced to 31 and 10 years, respectively, by a jury in Circuit Court Monday, for the murder of their father, Hayden R. Payne, near Tracy several months ago, yesterday filed motion and grounds asking for a new trial.
“In their appeal they state they were not represented by a competent and sane lawyer, despite their advice at the time of his employment, that he was a sober, discreet, profound, painstaking, and efficient lawyer. The motion was accompanied by several affidavits bearing on the conduct of the attorney.
“The sisters contend that, following the killing of their father, they advised their attorney of the true nature of his tragic demise, and have substantiated a plea of self-defense.
“The motion recounts the actions of the family, from the time of arising early in the morning until the killing, in the effect that while Dora was at the barn milking, Notie preparing breakfast was summoned by her one-armed father to procure a clean suit of underwear for him. Responding to his call she entered his room and was attacked by him with a ‘weapon wrapped in paper’. A struggle ensued,during which she and her father fell to the floor, her father on top. She had called her sister, who responded, and to separate them, Dora entwined his neck with rope and jerked him off. When she did so he released his hold on the ‘weapon’ which Notie procured and struck him on the head.
“In their excitement following their discovery that he was apparently dead the statements indicate that they attempted to remove him to his bed, but finally left him in the posture in which he was found by neighbors, in an attempt to make his death appear as a suicide, in as much as they did not know that they might have had a right to take his life in defense of their lives.
“The motion will be heard by Judge Fulton today or tomorrow.”
NOTE: To make it look like a convincing suicide, they took the rope entwined around his neck and tied it to the bed slats. In their haste, or the fact they didn’t know how tight it would need to be to be convincing, the rope was haphazardly wrapped and knotted, and when the body was later moved to be examined, it came easily unraveled.
Then there was his busted head!
I am in no way, shape, or form, mocking nor making light of the seriousness of this incident. But there was other testimony stating the sisters had been claiming for several years their father was senile, and that other members of the family and community were trying to take advantage of that fact, and get the old man, who they also claimed was hateful and cruel to them, to sell the farm out from under them, which would leave them destitute and homeless if he should pass away.
I have not further investigated this to find the outcome of this tragic situation.