A 16-year-old Louisa County juvenile appeared by video link in court this afternoon to face charges of shooting and robbing two elderly neighbors on Tuesday.
Roger Payne, 83, who was found dead at the scene of the attack on South Spotswood Trail (Route 33) near Gordonsville, was identified as the male victim. He had been shot in the face.
His wife, Nancy, 73, may have escaped the same fate by pretending to be dead, according to Rusty McGuire, Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney. She phoned 911 from a neighbor’s house at 1:40 p.m.
Nancy Payne has undergone surgery and remains hospitalized, with further surgery forthcoming, Louisa County Sheriff's Office Det. Chuck Love said in a statement.
Before he led Payne and his wife behind their house and shot them on the railroad tracks, the juvenile removed all the telephones from the residence, McGuire said during the hearing in Louisa Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
The juvenile was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding, robbery and breaking and entering to commit robbery.
The juvenile lived “across the road” from the victims and had been to their house at least once before, the prosecutor said. During that visit, the youth claimed his girlfriend had been abducted.
After shooting the Paynes, the youth stole their car and drove toward Lynchburg to visit his girlfriend, McGuire said. He was stopped on Route 29 in Nelson County later in the afternoon by Virginia State Police.
When authorities questioned the juvenile yesterday, he initially said the incident had been an accident, but then confessed, McGuire said.
The juvenile had been under the supervision of the Orange County Court Services Unit since Sept. 12 after being charged with larceny in that county last spring.
Andre Dickerson, the boy's father, attended the court hearing. He said afterwards he had sought mental health services for his son, but was unsuccessful.
“I could tell that something was wrong with the way he was talking,” Dickerson said. “I can’t understand how this happened. I just want to say I’m so sorry to [the Paynes'] family.”
A preliminary hearing for the juvenile was set for Nov. 26.