Attorney for man accused of killing 8-year-old says there isn't enough evidence

The teenager charged with murdering an 8-year-old girl was in a Fort Bend County courtroom asking the judge to reduce his $500,000 bond. 

19-year old Jacobe Payton is accused of killing 8-year-old De’Maree Adkins as she simply rode in the car with her mother.  It’s a case that had even the Texas Governor so outraged he offered a $10,000 reward leading to the killer’s arrest.  Payton is now in jail but he’s asking a judge to help set him free.

“They don’t have probable cause.  They don’t have the authority to hold him and the appropriate thing to do is to let this young man go,” argues Payton’s attorney Jeff Strange.  As Payton asked the judge to reduce his half million dollar bond, relatives of the 3rd grader also filled the courtroom listening as heartbreaking details were recounted. 

A Houston Police Department homicide detective responded to what was initially a car crash on South Sam Houston Parkway at Fuqua in February but it turned into a murder after someone opened fire into De’Maree’s mom’s wrecked vehicle.  As the shots were being fired she tried to drive away "but her vehicle was badly damaged.  She could only make it a few feet and then she heard her daughter moaning in the back.  She went to check on her and saw she was bleeding from the chest,” explains the investigator.

So what do we know about the accused killer?  "He’s a student at Willowridge High School.  Well he was until he got put in jail,” says Carla Barnes who is not Payton's biological mom but she raised him since he was the same age as his alleged victim.  Barnes says he’s 19 and still in high school because he was held back in first grade when he couldn’t read or write.

"He doesn’t have any other family.  I’m his family.  My mom is passed and he’s all I have,” Barnes says.

De'Maree's mother couldn't identify the shooter. In fact, she initially told officers it may have been a male or female with shoulder-length dreadlocks.  In a mug shot, Payton has dreadlocks but he appeared in court today with his hair clean cut and his dreads gone.  De'Maree's mother also told officers the shooter used their left hand and Payton is left-handed.  The defense claims that's not enough to charge Payton.  “The fact that he’s left handed and the fact that he had braids.  They just don’t have probable cause in this case,” adds Strange, but prosecutors disagree.

”The defendant admits to being there.   He also admits he actually hears the gunshots.  The car matches the defendant’s car.   The description by the woman matches the defendant.  Then we have other people saying he admits to shooting.  Not only do we have probable cause we can convict him,” says prosecuting attorney Fred Felcman.

"So while he was living with you he’s committed all these offenses and then he gets arrested for murder and you think he would go back and live with you?” Felcman asks Barnes and she answers "I can not turn my back on Jacobe".  

Payton’s criminal record dates back to when he was a juvenile and include robbery, two assault cases, making a terroristic threat, theft and evading arrest.  The judge did not lower his bond.  Payton remains in jail held on a $500,000 bond, a bond his family says they can not afford to pay.