Payne's sentence decided today
By By Lisa Tindell
There is no question as to whether Victor Labaron Payne will spend time in prison or not. A jury has made that decision for both men.
However, it will be up to Circuit Judge Bradley Byrne to decide how long they will be in prison.
Sentencing is set for 1 p.m. today in the circuit court room at the Escambia County Courthouse.
Payne will also be spending some time behind bars as he faces sentencing on charges of second-degree rape, sexual abuse and enticing minor for immoral purposes.
Following three days of testimony in a case that ended on March 15, the jury found Payne guilty on all charges.
Each of the charges against Payne were classified as Class B felonies, which carry a possible sentence of at least two years, but not more than 20 years.
The possible sentence could see a combined total of at least six years, but not more than 60 years since three charges were levied against him.
The charges against Payne stemmed from accusations by a former student at Escambia County Middle School, where Payne was a teacher. According to the charges, the incidents began when the victim was a fifth-grade student at the school.
During testimony, members of the jury heard taped recordings of Payne's confession to officers on the day of his initial arrest. In the taped interview, Payne admitted to having sexual contact with the victim on one occasion and admitted to sexual intercourse with the victim on a separate occasion. The jury also heard testimony from the victim and a second student.
Attorney for the defense, Armardo Pitters requested that bond be set for Payne at the close of the trial, however Judge Byrne denied that request.
"Since his (Payne) possible sentence could exceed 20 years the law says I am not at liberty to offer a way for him to be released," Byrne said. "He will be remanded to the custody of the Escambia County Sheriff's Department."
Payne has been held at the Escambia County Detention Center since the jury returned their verdict.
Payne also will be facing additional charges on a second victim as was returned by a grand jury indictment following the spring session.
Charges against Payne in the second case are rape, first degree; rape, second degree; sexual abuse, first degree; sexual abuse, second degree; and enticement of a child for immoral purposes.
A court date for the new trial has not been set.