Judge asked to bar use of suspect’s statements in murders

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A Philadelphia man charged in a double murder in central Pennsylvania two years ago is asking a judge to bar prosecutors from using statements he said he made to police while dealing with drug withdrawal symptoms.

Isiah Payne, 34, is charged in the deaths of 28-year-old Mikal Jackson-Stevenson and 52-year-old Natalie Washington in Altoona in May 2020. Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty if he is convicted of first-degree murder.

Payne told a Blair County judge Tuesday that he regularly took pain medication and failure to do so left him irritable and unable to concentrate, The (Altoona) Mirror reported. He said he took a tablet while in police custody but it was wearing off as he was questioned by police.

Altoona police officers, however, told the judge that they saw no evidence of the alleged withdrawal symptoms, saying Payne was calm and coherent and answered every question.

Prosecutors allege that Payne killed the victims during a dispute over drug sales. His trial is scheduled to begin in December. Defense attorney Richard Corcoran challenged the legality of using Payne’s statements to police and has raised other objections in pretrial motions that the judge will rule on later.

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