Testimony underway for man accused of shooting, killing 8-year-old girl

RICHMOND, Texas – A man charged with shooting and killing an 8-year-old girl after a crash nearly three years ago got underway in a Fort Bend County courtroom.

Jacobe Payton, who was 19 at the time, is charged with murder in the death of De’Maree Adkins. Adkins was shot and killed after a crash on Fuqua Street and Beltway 8 in 2017 while she slept in the backseat of her mother’s car.

Both the prosecution and defense presented opening arguments to the jury Friday morning.

Prosecutors began presenting their case later that morning. They called five witnesses to testify including crime scene officers, two 911 dispatchers and Latoyia Thomas, the child’s mother.

Prosecutors used their opening statement to remind the jury of the pain and anguish Payton caused by the senseless killing of the young girl.

“We would hope that she had no idea of the evil in the world around her,” said special prosecutor Amanda Bolin.

In the defense’s opening statement, attorney James Rivera told jurors the authorities’ position to pin this horrific crime on someone should not overshadow what the evidence showed. He pointed to gunshot residue, bullet casings and the alignment of the vehicles involved as such evidence.

He tried to raise reasonable doubt regarding statements the child’s mother initially made to investigators.

Rivera said Thomas identified the shooter as a woman on multiple occasions. Thomas told jurors she thought Payton was female because he had dreadlocks at the time of the shooting.

“As he sits here today, he’s an innocent man and he’s an innocent man in this case," Rivera said.

Testimony resumes in the case Monday morning at 9 a.m.

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