It's been almost ten months since the crime and now investigators have made an arrest. Thirty-eight year old Jason Payne was arrested for two counts of murder.
His wife 35 year old Nicole Payne and his stepson, 16 year old Austin Wages, were found in their Wood County home last December. Within the months that followed, lots of evidence, including two large holes which appeared to be graves were located on the property just behind the residence attributed to the arrest.
The arrest affidavit describes it all, from the 9-1-1 call Jason Payne made that morning, to the five hour interview a short time later. But, investigators say ultimately it was their forensic work at the crime scene that led to an arrest. "I'm sorry it took this long, but I'd rather had the case right," said Sheriff Dwaine Daughterty.
The affidavit states that no fingerprints, smudged or otherwise, were on the rifle, indicating that someone wiped the weapon clean after it was fired. Austin could not have done this because he was deceased.
A rag found in Jason Payne's truck reportedly had Nicole Payne's blood on it. Authorities say this indicates that the defendant either used the rag to wipe the gun down, or to wipe Nicole's blood off himself. They say the final straw came last week during therapy. The couple's young child who was home that morning said, "She saw her daddy shoot her mommy and brother."
"This should be some type of closure for the family," Sheriff Daughterty said. "It was very time consuming, but I'm very proud of my people for staying with this working with case up and bringing it to a closure." Authorities say after countless hours they are pleased the man they believe responsible for these deaths is behind bars. That's a sentiment echoed by Wood county residents like Kay Stoner, "I think it's a job well done. I'm really happy they have caught him that justice will be done."
In a news release from the Nacogdoches Police department over the weekend, police said, "The Nacogdoches Police Department assisted the Wood County Sheriff's Department early Saturday morning in serving two Murder warrants on Jason Tad Payne, 38, of Logansport, LA. The murder charges stem from the deaths of Payne's wife, Nicole Payne and her son, Austin Taylor Wages, 16. Ms. Payne and Wages were found shot to death in their home near Quitman, TX in December of 2007.
Wood County Sheriff's authorities recently obtained the murder warrants for Payne. Payne was in Nacogdoches on Saturday visiting relatives and was arrested in Pecan Park without incident. The Paynes and Wages are formally of Nacogdoches and Wages attended Nacogdoches High School.