LOUISA — A Louisa County teenager charged with first-degree murder likely will be tried as an adult after charges against him were certified during an emotional hearing Wednesday.
Cameryn Dickerson, 17, was remanded to an adult jail following a preliminary hearing in Louisa County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Dickerson is charged with first-degree murder in the gunshot slaying of Roger Wood Payne, Jr, 82; aggravated malicious wounding in the shooting of Payne’s wife, Nancy Payne, 73; and breaking and entering with the intent to commit murder and robbery.
Louisa County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Payne residence around 1:40 p.m. Nov. 12 after the wounded Nancy Payne was able to get to a neighbor’s home to call 911. Authorities found Roger Payne dead.
The bulk of Wednesday’s testimony came from Peggy McClary, a neighbor who called 911. She said that Nancy Payne arrived at her home that afternoon with blood on her face and a bullet wound behind one ear, near her neck.
“Nancy told me that she and Robert had been shot by the boy who lived across the street,” McClary said. “She told me that he had forced them to walk up the train tracks behind their home where he shot them.”
McClary said that Nancy Payne told her Dickerson had broken into the couple’s home through a side door and forced them to hand over all their cash, which amounted to around $300. He then forced the couple to walk up the train tracks behind their home, telling them he did not plan to hurt them before then shooting them.
Just two days prior, McClary said the Paynes had been visited by Dickerson, who asked the couple if he could use their phone. He told the Paynes that his girlfriend had been kidnapped and he needed to call the police, according to McClary.
McClary’s 911 call was played in its entirety for the court. In the recording, McClary can be heard relaying information about the suspect, including the clothing he was wearing — a red jacket and jeans — and the weapon allegedly used — a sawed-off shotgun.
Nancy Payne was also able to relay information about what Dickerson allegedly stole, including approximately $300 in cash and her silver vehicle.
In between answering the 911 dispatcher’s questions, McClary can be heard comforting a distraught Nancy, telling her, “Don’t think like that, you’re gonna be fine.”
The call helped police locate the Paynes’ vehicle and Dickerson around two hours later in Nelson County. A police officer testified that Dickerson matched the description provided and that officers found $314 and a weapon matching McClary’s description in the vehicle.
Det. Todd Lytton, of the Louisa County Police Department, testified that a red shotgun shell found near Roger Payne’s body was distinctive because it was older, unlike more recent shotgun shells that are often colored green. The shotgun found in the vehicle driven by Dickerson contained a partially-spent shell of the same color.
During closing arguments, Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire presented the Commonwealth’s timeline. The defendant had cased the house prior to the robbery and shooting, he said, planning his attack prior to the day of the incident.
“[Dickerson] then forced this couple to walk at gunpoint, assuring them he wouldn’t hurt them before shooting them in cold blood,” McGuire said. “That haunting picture is worth a thousand words: an old man who had to walk with his cane before being shot and left lying on his back, treated worse than a dog.”
Richard Harry, Dickerson’s attorney, asked the court not to certify the charges, taking issue with some of the commonwealth’s argument that his client cased the home and pointing to a lack of forensic evidence.
“No one seemed to know or have spoken to [Dickerson] before this day,” he said. “No one was called to the stand today who can confirm that he came to the Paynes’ home before the day in question.”
Judge Deborah S. Tinsley agreed with the commonwealth and certified the charges against Dickerson, moving the case up to Circuit Court.
State code requires juveniles 14 years of age and older charged with capital murder, first or second degree murder, lynching or aggravated malicious wounding, to be automatically transferred to the circuit court level to be tried as an adult.
The charges against Dickerson will be presented to a grand jury in Louisa County Circuit Court on March 9, who will decide whether or not to indict him.