DNA evidence fails to convince jury of man’s guilt in 1983 killing

Courtesy PhotoDespite DNA evidence linking him to the victim

Courtesy PhotoDespite DNA evidence linking him to the victim

A retrial is expected in a San Francisco cold case murder in which DNA evidence failed to lead to a conviction Tuesday.

Just three of the 12 jurors believed there was enough evidence — even after matching DNA samples — to convict 48-year-old William Payne of strangling to death 41-year-old Nikolaus Crumbley while raping him in a car in John McLaren Park on Nov. 16, 1983.

On Wednesday, Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof, who represents Payne, said the hung jury proves that “despite what we see on television, the presence of DNA does not prove a person is guilty of a crime.”

But prosecutors appear determined to prove otherwise. Motions in Payne’s retrial begin today, the Public Defender’s Office said, with opening arguments scheduled for Oct. 22.

“DNA evidence and independent corroborating testimony linked the defendant to the brutal rape and murder of Mr. Crumbely,” District Attorney George Gascón said following Tuesday’s outcome.

Payne was 19 years old when Crumbley’s body was found facedown at the intersection of John Shelley Drive and Mansell Street. Prosecutors said Crumbley’s pants and underwear were pulled down to his ankles.

Prosecutors believe Payne killed Crumbley while the two were having sex in Crumbley’s rental car, which was later found in Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

Three years ago, cold case investigators tied DNA found in Crumbley’s rectum to Payne, whose DNA had been entered in a criminal database after he assaulted a woman in 1984.

In January, Payne was charged with first-degree murder during the course of sodomy.

But the DNA evidence wasn’t enough to convince nine jurors of Payne’s guilt.

“In this case, it proved only that Mr. Payne and Mr. Crumbley had sex,” Maloof said.

During the monthlong trial, Maloof argued that the DNA evidence proved the semen had been present at least 24 hours before Crumbley’s death. He pointed out that DNA not matching Payne’s also was found.

Maloof said he is confident the evidence will ultimately lead to Payne’s acquittal.

ccopeland@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsOaklandSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read