October 1, 2006
A closely-watched trial gets underway tomorrow at the Warren County Courthouse in Warrenton.
Lottie Kain Payne could face prison time after her two children drowned in a retention pond.
"She's getting blamed for something she didn't do," Dennis Payne told News 12 back in 2005. "She did nothing wrong."
Payne is now married to the woman he had two small children with before that fateful day in April 2005.
Two-year-old Nicole and three-year-old Jonah Payne had wandered away from home. A few days later their bodies were found in a nearby retention pond.
A grand jury ruled the deaths accidental, but Toombs district attorney Dennis Sanders charged the mother with two counts of cruelty to children.
That was based on what he says was Lottie Payne's lack of supervision that allowed the children to wander away.
"I know I didn't do anything wrong, but everybody else thinks I did," Lottie Payne told News 12 in August, 2005.
Dennis Payne has been so vocal in defending his wife that the judge has placed a gag order on him and others involved in the trial.
When the children disappeared, about 200 neighbors helped search for them...among them Tami May.
"My heart just broke," May told News 12. "I just can't imagine being a parent who's lost a two- and a three-year-old."
Now some of those same neighbors may be asked to decide Lottie Payne's guilt or innocence.