Madison County jury finds Huntsville man guilty of corpse abuse

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William Payton

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A Madison County jury found a Huntsville man guilty of corpse abuse.  The jury convicted 44-year-old William Lewis Payton of abusing the body of his longtime girlfriend, Tonya Lynn Amerson. They had three children together, but authorities said she was not living with Payton at the time of her death.

In October 2015, Huntsville Police found Amerson’s dismembered remains behind a shopping center on Carl T. Jones Drive in south Huntsville.

Payton was initially charged with murder in the case, but a judge dropped the charges because of a lack of evidence. The Madison County District Attorney’s Office said medical examiners could not determine a cause of death.

Payton’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 26.

Payton is also scheduled to appear in court in Marshall County, where he is charged with sex abuse of a child under 12 years old and “strong arm” sodomy. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Payton will be held in the Marshall County Jail until his sentencing hearing in Madison County and his pretrial hearing on March 6.