In June 1987 Pervis Payne was at his girlfriend's apartment when he heard screaming in the apartment next door. When he went over he found the neighbor and her 2-year-old daughter stabbed. He tried to help but when he heard the police arriving he panicked - afraid that the police may think that he killed the woman and her daughter.
In a racially charged trial Pervis Payne was portrayed as a drugged up sexual perpetrator who raped a white woman and then killed her and her daughter. However, Pervis Payne testified that he had seen a man racing by him as he approached the victims' apartment.
On 16 February 1988 Pervis Payne was sentenced to death. He has maintained his innocence ever since.
Pervis Payne was granted temporary reprieve from execution until April 9, 2021.