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Jacobe Payton found guilty of killing 8-year-old De’Maree Adkins in 2017

HOUSTON – A man accused of shooting and killing an 8-year-old girl after a 2017 crash was found guilty of murder by a Fort Bend County jury Tuesday after eight hours of deliberations.

In Feb. 2017, 8-year-old De’Maree Adkins was asleep in the backseat of her mother’s car when she was shot and killed after a wreck near the intersection of Fuqua Street and Beltway 8.

De’Maree’s mother, Latoyia Thomas, told police at the time that a white Pontiac Grand Prix and a dark four-door sedan were speeding down West Fuqua Street. The speeding Pontiac collided into a Honda Accord carrying the child and her mother, who were traveling through the intersection of the Sam Houston Parkway feeder and Fuqua Street.

Investigators said Thomas told them the driver from the Pontiac she had crashed into hopped into the four-door sedan and a window of the sedan rolled down and a woman began shooting at the car.

Later, Jacobe Payton, who was 19 years old, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with De’Maree’s death.

Payton didn’t show emotion Tuesday as the verdict was read by the judge and as each juror affirmed it. There was an audible “yes,” heard from the courtroom where De’Maree’s family members sat in attendance.

After Payton was led out of the courtroom, De’Maree’s family tearfully celebrated the verdict.

“There was a weight lifted, knowing that I can’t bring her back from this verdict but it’s the fact that some justice will be served. Somebody had to pay for what they’ve done,” said Detram Adkins, De’Maree’s father.

He chose not to give a victim impact statement.

Adkins said he wants to instead focus on all the wonderful memories of his sweet little girl.

“Nobody wins at this. Nobody won this. I just wanted justice for my baby,” Adkins said.

Family members of De'Maree Adkins tearfully celebrate after Jacobe Payton handed guilty verdict at Fort Bend County courtroom on Feb. 11, 2020.
Family members of De'Maree Adkins tearfully celebrate after Jacobe Payton handed guilty verdict at Fort Bend County courtroom on Feb. 11, 2020. (KPRC)

During the trial, prosecutors highlighted the pain and anguish Thomas said was caused after her daughter was killed.

Payton’s defense attorneys reminded jurors that Thomas had said the shooter was a woman on multiple occasions. Thomas told jurors she thought Payton was a woman because he had long dreadlocks at the time of the shooting.

The trial will now enter the punishment phase. Testimony is set to resume Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Watch as the verdict was read:


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