Arraignment to take place Monday for Huntsville man charged with sex abuse of a child


William Lewis Payton (Photo: Marshall County Sheriff’s Office)

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Huntsville man once accused of murdering and dismembering his girlfriend will now appear in a Marshall County courtroom Monday.

An arraignment for William Lewis Payton is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Monday. He is charged with sex abuse of a child under 12 years old and first degree strong arm sodomy against a female victim.

District Attorney Steve Marshall said Payton was indicted for the crime in 2014, but was not located until he was in custody in Madison County in 2015.

The Madison County District Attorney’s office dropped the murder charges against Payton in February. He was charged in the death of Tonya Lynn Amerson, 27.

In December, retired Circuit Judge Jim Smith was not satisfied with the case against Payton and refused to revoke his probation on an unrelated charge.

Payton was scheduled for a hearing in the Madison County Courthouse in early February, but the district attorney’s office was still awaiting results from forensics tests. For that reason, the office had no additional evidence to present. That led to the decision to “nol pros” the case.

Amerson’s dismembered body was found behind the Target store in Jones Valley. Investigators said, at the time of Payton’s arrest, that Amerson was killed at Payton’s apartment and the body was left near the shopping center.

Once the evidence is processed, it will be presented to a grand jury; at which time there could be new charges filed against Payton.

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