Alleged gunman to face grand jury

The case of a 16-year-old boy charged with shooting an elderly Louisa County man to death and seriously wounding his wife will go to a grand jury.

That means the suspect will be tried as an adult despite the fact he is under age 18.

Louisa Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Deborah Tinsley certified first-degree murder and other charges against the juvenile at the conclusion of a Feb. 5 preliminary hearing. The shooting occurred on Nov. 12, 2019 on South Spotswood Trail near the town of Gordonsville.

Tinsley heard testimony from a neighbor who called 911 on behalf of Nancy Payne, the shooting victim who survived. Other witnesses included Louisa County Sheriff's Office Det. Todd Lytton and a Nelson County police officer who stopped the suspect's car a couple of hours after the attack.

The suspect, a former Orange County High School student, is believed to have been living at his older brother's house across the road from the victims' residence. 

The neighbor's 911 call was played during the hearing. She recalled seeing Nancy Payne come to her garage door around 1:30 p.m., covered in blood and with a gunshot wound. Payne's husband, Roger, 83, was found by authorities on the railroad tracks behind his house and pronounced dead at the scene.

The suspect came to the Paynes' house two days before the attack and asked to use their phone. He claimed his girlfriend had been kidnapped. The Paynes permitted him to make a call, but asked some neighbors to come over while he was in the house because they were "concerned about their safety," according to the neighbor who testified.

After the shooting, the suspect allegedly stole the Paynes' car and attempted to drive to Lynchburg. He told authorities he was going to visit his girlfriend. The Nelson County deputy was able to spot the suspect while he was stopped due to a traffic accident.

Authorities found $314 in the car, most of which he allegedly stole from the Paynes just before the shooting.

At a Dec. 13, 2019 hearing, Tinsley denied a request by the suspect's attorney for a mental health competency hearing. She said there was no evidence in the suspect's record to suggest he has a mental health issue.

In addition to first-degree murder, the suspect is charged with aggravated malicious wounding, robbery and breaking and entering to commit robbery.

A grand jury will meet in Louisa Circuit Court on March 9 to decide whether to indict the suspect.

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