A man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for dismembering his girlfriend with a chain saw and dumping her body parts in bags and boxes behind a Target store in Alabama.
William Lewis Payton, 44, of Huntsville, Alabama, was convicted of corpse abuse after charges for the murder of Tonya Lynn Amerson, 27, were dropped for lack of evidence.
Amerson’s dismembered body was found behind a Target store at Huntsville’s Valley Bend Shopping Center in October 2015.
Amerson was Payton’s girlfriend and the mother of two of his eight children, AL.com reported.
William Lewis Payton, 44, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for corpse abuse after investigators said he dismembered the body of his girlfriend, Tonya Lynn Amerson, 27, in 2015
Investigators said that Amerson had been killed at Payton’s apartment.
Payton was then accused of having killed Amerson before using a chain saw to cut up her body and placing the pieces in garbage bags and dumping them behind the nearby Target.
Her body was said to have been found three days after she died.
At the time of Amerson’s death, Payton was on probation and had been given a five-year suspended sentence after having been convicted of two counts of drug possession.
Payton and Amerson had been arrested in September 2012 and charged with drug possession and trafficking, but charges against Amerson were dropped when Payton pleaded guilty to lesser charges,AL.com reported.
In February 2016, the Madison County District Attorney’s office dropped the murder charge against Payton after a judge ruled that there was a lack of available evidence regarding the cause of her Amerson’s death.
Payton was initially charged with Amerson’s murder but those charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence regarding the cause of her death
Amerson’s dismembered body was found in boxes and garbage bags, dumped here, behind the Target in a Huntsville, Alabama shopping center
Although Payton denied killing or dismembering Amerson, a jury found him guilty of dismembering her corpse in early February.
During Payton’s sentencing hearing on Monday, Prosecutor Joshua Ballinger said that Payon’s actions showed ‘a level of depravity you see in a horror movie,’ illustrating his statement with a description of what Payton had done to Amerson’s body.
‘He took a power saw, chopped her in half, cut her arms off, stuffed her in trash bags, stuck her in boxes and dumped her behind Target,’ Ballinger said, according to AL.com.
Payton’s family and defense attorney asked for leniency, citing his health problems – he is said to have high blood pressure and sciatica – as well as his love of his eight children and having devoted a large portion of his life to being a layperson Jehovah’s Witness.
Payton was ultimately sentenced to 40 years in prison on the corpse abuse charge.
He is due back in court on April 30 to face charges of child abuse and sodomy in a neighboring county.
He has been charged with one count each of sodomy and sexual abuse of a child under 12.