Anthony Lee Payne, 34, was suspected in the death of his father, Charles Payne, 59, and his stepmother, Louise Payne, 67, whose bodies were found Thursday afternoon, according to a release Friday by John Bankhead, spokesperson for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The GBI contacted the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office about 10:40 p.m. Thursday and told them to be on the lookout for the suspect and a car they believed he might be traveling in through the county, said Lt. Jay Baker, public information officer with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, in a Friday release.
Cherokee deputies located the car about 11 p.m. and performed a traffic stop but did not find Payne inside, Baker said.
Instead, they found Payne’s fiancee, Consuela Earwood, her mother and two daughters, ages 10 and 14, Earwood told the Tribune on Friday morning.
Earwood said the deputies took all of them to the Sheriff’s Office
and held them there for questioning.
Cherokee County deputies located Payne, who was armed, at the home at about 1:30 a.m., Baker said.
When Payne refused a deputy’s request to drop his weapon, the deputy fired on Payne. Payne was pronounced dead at the scene, Baker said.
Payne also fired his weapon, Baker said, but did not injure the deputy.
Earwood said she and Payne were in a motel room spending time together when her mother called and told her the police were looking for him and to stay there.
“She said she’d come and pick me and him up and he’d come here (the home on Swan Lane) and get him a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt,” Earwood said, “and he was gonna leave.”
Earwood maintained her fiance’s innocence, telling the Tribune, the MDJ’s sister paper, that while they waited, and at no time, did Payne tell her if he was responsible for the death of his father and stepmother. Earwood said she doesn’t believe he was.
Earwood’s mother picked them up and dropped Payne off at the home on Swan Lane, where Earwood said Payne lived off and on, in between jobs drilling wells with his brother.
After leaving Payne at the home, Earwood said she, her mother and daughters left in her mother’s car to go to a store. They were pulled over on New Light Road and taken to the sheriff’s department, where they were held until sometime around 7 a.m. Friday, she said.
When they returned to the home on Swan Lane, Earwood said they were met by police securing the scene of Payne’s death near their carport.
Earwood said she and Payne had been together about six years. Their relationship suffered, she said when he had to serve three years in prison for growing marijuana, which she contended belonged to his father. She said he was released in October 2012.
Earwood said she is three months pregnant with Payne’s child.