Police arrest teenage boy in connection with teacher's murder
Published: October 12, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - More than a year after an elementary school teacher was robbed and shot to death outside his Anna's Retreat home, V.I. police have made an arrest.
On Friday, police arrested a 17-year-old boy and charged him with first-degree murder; second-degree murder; first-degree assault; third-degree assault; conspiracy to murder; aiding and abetting; first-degree robbery; grand larceny; possession of a firearm during a crime of violence; and possession of an unlicensed firearm during a crime of violence, according to a police report.
The arrest may be the first to break open what was beginning to look like a cold case, but it is not expected to be the last.
"That's only one. We have a long list of arrests to be made," said Blanche Frazer, mother of David Payne Jr.
Payne, 30, was robbed and shot to death Sept. 7, 2012.
He was a sixth-grade teacher at Ulla F. Muller Elementary School on St. Thomas, and he had been pursuing his master's degree in education at the University of the Virgin Islands.
He was known for having a big smile, loving his students and wearing lots of colors along with his ubiquitous Star of David pendant.
"The kids even had a 'Dress like David Payne Day' at school," his sister, Rochelle Payne, said.
Rochelle Payne found out through her parents, Frazer and David Payne Sr., that police had made an arrest.
Police made the arrest about 10:10 a.m. Friday, citing that it was in connection with an incident Sept. 7, 2012, according to the police report.
"I'm shaking. I can't believe...." Rochelle Payne said, struggling for words.
"Tears, tears. We have done so much not to just sit back."
Less than two months ago, Rochelle Payne flew down from her home in Pennsylvania to organize a march with her parents and her brother's other family and friends. They all wore shirts with David's picture on them, and wrote signs that urged for "Justice for David."
David Payne Jr.'s son, 11-year-old David Payne III, also was at the march, along with his mother, Laurel Ann Lake.
As he held his sign, David Payne III said that his father was the best.
The family held megaphones and spoke to passersby and drivers who stopped about the lack of community involvement, the lack of communication between the community and police and the lack of compassion for victims of crime and their families.
"When loved ones are killed, a lot of times it's street justice. A lot of people don't even waste their time with police," Rochelle Payne said.
Still, while the family is glad that they are finally getting "justice for David," they also know that there is a lot more to be done.
"We still have a long way to go," Frazer said.
Because the boy is 17, his case will be handled in Family Court unless the V.I. Attorney General's Office charges him as an adult and he is bound over to V.I. Superior Court.
Unless he is charged as an adult, his identity is protected as a minor.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email email@example.com.