Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Meet the Convicted Murderer Who's Ruining Pat Quinn's Week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Meet Edjuan Payne. 40, black, convicted murderer. Jailed, paroled, jailed again, paroled again. And now accused of a killing a 41-year-old grandmother, leaving her grandchild nearby with a cracked skull.

    Now Payne is an issue in the governor's race.

    Pat Quinn is blaming the Prisoner Review Board for letting him off easy on a parole violation. Bill Brady is blaming Quinn.

    It’s not Payne’s first murder arrest. He served 16 years for killing a man in Cook County in 1987. After completing his probation, Payne got in trouble with the law again, this time for tearing the police radio microphone off a police officer trying to arrest him at a Rockford housing project. Because he hadn’t committed a violent crime this time, and because he’d already spent six months in the Winnebago County Jail, he was released from prison after just two weeks, thanks to Quinn’s early release program.

    Freedom didn’t take. Payne violated his parole by drinking and moving to his mother’s house in Peoria without informing his officer. So it was back to prison, this time for two months.

    The issue is whether Payne should have served out his entire sentence. His parole officer said she recommended it, but the Prison Review Board, which approved Payne’s release, argued that if every parole violator had to serve all their time for minor violations, “we couldn’t build enough prisons.”

     That's not good enough for Bill Brady.

    “Governor Quinn owes the family and the people of Illinois some clear answers on what happened and what didn’t happen,” Brady said in a statement. “Over the weekend, the governor blamed the Prisoner Review Board for the alleged attacker being on the streets. But today news reports say it was Quinn’s own Corrections Board that recommended Edjuan Payne be set free as early as he was.

    There are a lot of governors you can blame for Edjuan Payne being on the street. Payne got a 25-year murder sentence when James Thompson was in office. He was turned loose when Rod Blagojevich was governor. He’d behaved himself in prison, which, of course, means he was going to behave himself on the street. And he had to make way for new murderers, who were receiving longer sentences.

    But Payne killed again when Pat Quinn was governor, so he’s Pat Quinn’s murderer now.

    And Bill Brady's campaign issue.