An East Texas man who is already behind bars facing capital murder charges, is now facing another murder charge. The Shelby County Sheriff's Office has charged Jimmie Smith with the murder of Vance Payne. Sheriff Newton Johnson stops short of calling Smith a serial killer, but investigators say Smith has a history of kidnapping, and robbing people.
Already in the Shelby County jail for the murder of 89 year old Adalia Sanders, Smith is now the murder of Robert Vance Payne, "He was a local businessman," says Sheriff Johnson. Authorities say the beloved hardware store owner was killed in February of 2007. Sheriff Johnson says the two cases are not related.
During his last arrest Smith allegedly admitted to kidnapping Vance's wife, but Vance's mysterious death - where he was found severely beaten in his reclining chair - left several unanswered questions. "We've got a real mystery on our hands," said Shelby County District Attorney, Linda Kay Russell a year ago. After a year of investigating, the Sheriff's Office has pointed a finger, once again to Smith.
Very little information is being shared as to why Smith allegedly killed such a well known, and well- liked man of the community. Vance was a very well know figure in town, not just because of his hardware store, but because of what he did at the local radio station, he was an on air personality reading local news, mainly consisting of school news and reading obituaries. "He's just a Shelby County icon," said one resident during the time of his murder.
Though the town is without him, a microphone, Payne's plaque, and his signature coffee cup attached to a plague on the wall serves as a memorial in his old office at the radio station. And now with his alleged murderer charged, the town can begin to remember him. Story by Fred Childers