Murder case against 96-year-old Okey Payne dropped

Okie Payne appears in a mug shot.

Okie Payne.

Authorities have agreed to dismiss the murder charges against a 96-year-old assisted living resident accused of shooting and killing a worker at the facility after medical experts said he would likely never stand trial a number from Denver area television stations and newspapers reported on Wednesday. Ok Payne had previously faced a case of first degree murder for the alleged killing of a 40-year-old Ricardo Medina Rojas in February 2021.

as previously reported of Law&Crime, prosecutors said that on February 3, 2021, Payne fatally shot Medina-Rojas, Legacy’s maintenance director at Lafayette Assisted Living. The shooting came after Payne reportedly accused staff of drugging him and stealing his money. the authorities found these accusations unfounded.

Payne is accused of pulling the trigger in the facility’s lobby and then threatening others who were trying to help the victim. According to the Associated PressPayne brandished a pistol, leading to two more gun threats.

Defense attorneys reportedly recently filed papers to argue that Payne would likely never be considered competent to stand trial.

Based on articles from Denver NBC affiliate KUSAtwo doctors said the defendant “suffered from delusions associated with a neurocognitive disorder.”

“Such disorders are usually irreversible and progressive,” added a prosecutor’s motion. per KUSA.

The Boulder County Attorney’s Office did not oppose a defense motion to dismiss the case.

“The law requires the court to dismiss the case if prosecutors cannot overcome the doctors’ determination that he is incompetent,” DA Michael Dougherty said in a Statement received from both NBC and FOX Subsidiaries. “Doctors concluded that the defendant’s persistent delusions and severe mental condition were related to his advanced age and a neurocognitive disease that is irreversible with medication and treatment.”

“The defendant belongs in the secure facility of the state hospital for the rest of his natural life,” the statement continued. “The Lafayette Police Department did an excellent job of investigating this incredibly tragic case. Okey Payne committed a brutal and wrongful murder on an innocent victim who was a loving father and husband. Unfortunately, the victim’s family had believed that this would be the result. They strive to preserve the memories of Mr Medina-Rojas.”

The defendant remains confined at Pueblo State Hospital, KUSA added. FOX subsidiary KDVR specified that Payne’s incarceration would be for life.

A GoFundMe campaign created for the Medina-Rojas family, it brought in nearly $20,000.

On the donation page, one person remembered the victim as “an all-time winner” who was “not just a maintenance man” at the facility where he was gunned down.

“He loved all and he is loved by all,” reads the quote attributed to him Stan Losinski. “Anytime a resident had a problem with their home – whether it was changing a lightbulb or something that didn’t work, he was there for them. He was a remarkable guy. He wouldn’t steal anything from anyone! He would rather give you something than take it. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for everyone around here.”

As Law&Crime previously noted, the victim’s heart was donated to a recipient as an anatomical gift.

Jerry Lambe contributed coverage.

[image via mugshot]

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James Brien

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