Former Convict Accused of Second Murder

8-month-old infant found near woman's body

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Illinois Department of Corrections
    Edjuan L. Payne is charged with first degree murder.

    A previously convicted murderer was arrested in Peoria Friday morning for strangling a woman whose body was found in an alley lying next to her 8-month old grandchild in Peoria last night.

    Peoria police arrested Edjuan L. Payne, 40, of Chicago, on first-degree murder charges and for endangering the life of the child, according to the Peoria Journal Star.

    The infant, Aaliya Gaston, was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Orvette Davis, 41, was dead on the scene.

    Payne was paroled after serving time for a murder rap between1988 until 2003.

    He was released. Payne was again incarcerated in spring 2009 for a charge of criminal damage to property.

    He was sentenced to 2 years (which is automatically reduced to one year under the state's statutory good time law). He served 6 months and 4 days in Cook County Jail. Then he was transferred to Illinois Department of Corrections. He stayed there for 14 days.

    On Oct 1, 2009 he was released for meritorious good behavior, in compliance with a state program that had been in place since 1978. His release, or parole, was granted because an appellate court barred IDOC from looking at past criminal history when determining eligibility for meritorious good behavior.

    Pat Quinn overhauled the meritorious good behavior review program late last year as part of his Illinois Department of Corrections overhaul, which eventually included a controversial prison early release program, which has since been suspended. Changes to the meritorious good behavior program took effect on Jan 14, 2010.

    In the meantime, Payne was put back in jail on Jan 17, 2010 because he violated IDOC parole intensive compliance checks program, because he drank alcohol.

    Payne would have served the remainder of his sentence (which was one year because the state counts each day served as two) and been released at the end of July 2010.

    The state’s Prison Review Board, however, allowed Payne to be released from prison on March 29, 2010. The PRB is an independent agency. It does from time to time make confidential recommendations to the governor relative to clemency petitions.

    *Editor's Note: A previous version of this story reported Payne was released as part Quinn's controversial early prison release program, based on reports from Peoria. We have since learned that the prisoner was released under a different state program which is also considered an early release program. We regret the error. 

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