Prosecution paints Payne as negligent mom

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

October 3, 2006

She could face up to ten years in prison for each charge if she's convicted of child neglect.

More than a dozen witnesses have testified against Lottie Kain Payne so far.

In Day Two of the Payne trial, questions remain as to whether or not the mother had any remorse after her children drowned in a pond.

The prosecution spent the day trying to paint the picture of a negligent mom.

The night Lottie Payne reported three-year-old Jonah and two-year-old Nicole went missing, Phyllis Thigpen, an EMS responder, was one of the first to arrive on the scene.

"She never did show any concern," Thigpen testified. "The only concern she had: 'I hope I don't go to jail for this'."

The Lottie Payne described in that testimony is completely different from the hysterical mother in the courtroom.

Emotions ran high as the prosecution introduced photos of the children's bodies being retrieved from the retention pond they were found in. The pictures showed the children had swallowed a significant amount of duckweed from the pond...so much that they say it took anywhere from another two to ten minutes before they died.

Lottie Payne was so upset, her attorney Michael Garrett asked the judge for a 15 minute recess.

When they returned she broke down yet again. This time the judge asked the jury to step out of the room.

"Can you compose yourself? We have to move on," he asked once the jury had left.

"Yes, your honor," Payne said.

During testimony, prosecutors found inconsistent statements had been made by Payne on where she told investigators she was when she last saw the children.

On one account she told GBI investigator Tony Williamson she last saw the children when she was in the bedroom. Later, she said she was in the bathroom when the children were gone.

The defense argues because the statements were taken on two separate accounts, the wording of the questions may not have been clear.


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