01/08/09 — Murder suspect could face death penalty

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Murder suspect could face death penalty

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on January 8, 2009 1:46 PM

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Devon Jones

The Wayne County District Attorney's office was expected to petition this morning for the death penalty in the case of Devon Dejatorian Jones, accused of murdering Joseph Payan, 33.

A person close to the case said that one of newly elected Judge Arnold Jones' first decisions will be whether to assign the death penalty in the case.

An online court docket shows that Jones was scheduled to preside over a scheduled update of the status of the murder case today, and prosecutors were expected to ask for the death penalty.

Payan's body was found by a Granville Drive resident who called in a report of strange lights and about eight gunshots in the woods behind her home the night of Nov. 17, 2007.

Police did not find Payan's body in the dark that night, but the resident, undeterred, forced her husband to come along with her to search the woods the next morning.

The resident said when she came across Payan's body, her husband said he thought it was a garbage bag, and to leave it alone. The woman examined it anyway, and found Payan in a crumpled heap, she said.

Police did not identify Payan for a few days, or even release his race, because of the nature of his wounds.

Jones, who has also gone by the last name Waters, had last been known to live in Kinston.

Authorities at first named him Goldsboro's "most wanted" man, and finally caught up with him in Las Vegas after receiving reports he was there in February 2008.

The district attorney's office also seeks "habitual felon" status for Jones.