Officials: Double homicide suspect shot self
by Joshua Sharpe
jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com
April 10, 2013 12:00 AM | 1689 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — An autopsy conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on a Union County double homicide suspect, who was killed at a home near Canton on Friday morning, has revealed that the shot that killed him was from his own gun, authorities said.

Early reports from the police suggested Anthony Lee Payne, 34, was killed by a gunshot fired by a Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputy, but Payne actually died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a statement from the GBI.

Payne was a suspect in the homicide of his father, Charles Payne, and his stepmother, Louise Payne. Their bodies were found Thursday in a home in Union County.

Payne was found armed early Friday at the Swan Lane home of his fiance, Consuela Earwood, near Canton.

He died about 1:30 a.m. Friday after a standoff and gunfire with a Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputy after refusing to drop his gun, deputies said.

John Bankhead, spokesman for the GBI, said in a release Tuesday afternoon that, as earlier reported, the deputy did shoot the suspect.

“(Payne) did suffer a wound to his arm when the Cherokee deputy fired after (Payne) refused commands to drop his weapon,” Bankhead said, but the deputy’s bullet wasn’t the one that killed him.

Payne’s death was instead caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and has been ruled a suicide, Bankhead said.

The investigation into the incident and the Cherokee County sheriff’s deputy who shot Payne will continue as planned, Lt. Jamie Gianfala, a spokesperson for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday. The deputy is on paid leave pending the investigation, Gianfala said.

The investigation into the death of Payne’s father and stepmother continues, Bankhead said.
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