LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A 16-year-old is facing first-degree murder and aggravated malicious wounding charges after officers say he shot and killed 82-year-old Roger Payne and his wife, 73-year-old Nancy Payne, in Louisa Tuesday afternoon. The teen’s father believes the tragedy could have been prevented.
Andre Dickerson says in the past few weeks, he noticed something wasn't right about his son. He says he asked authorities to intervene but he claims nothing happened and now his son is accused of murder.
"I lost one of my sons and someone lost a family member,” he said.
For Dickerson, this moment isn’t one he thought he’d experience.
"This not making no sense to me. It’s not making sense at all,” he said.
His 16-year-old son is accused of murdering 82-year-old Roger Payne and shooting his wife 73-year-old Nancy Payne before stealing their car and driving it to Nelson County, where authorities pulled him over Tuesday. Dickerson and his son live across the street from the victims in Louisa County.
"They’re good people. They always wave at you. We always wave at them…This is not my son. I know that’s not him. He’s known for helping people…Anybody you ask, he’s always trying to help somebody,” Dickerson added.
But in recent weeks, Dickerson says he noticed something wasn’t right.
"I spoke with the people, the probation officer and told them I could sense something wasn’t right in his voice and I begged them to give him the help, send him somewhere because I could tell something wasn’t right. Had they would’ve done that, I would still have my son today and that family would still be across the road from us,” he said.
NBC12′s legal analyst Steve Benjamin says a judge will consider several factors at sentencing if the 16-year-old is convicted.
"The questions that will be asked are whether there are mental health issues, intellectual disability, whether he had a prior record,” Benjamin said.
Authorities plan to try the teen as an adult.
"Because he is a juvenile, however, even if convicted, he can not receive the death sentence. He could receive, however, up to life without possibility of parole,” Benjamin added.
A possibility that finds this father in a state of disbelief.
"I'm losing it on both ends. My son and then some good people…This could have been avoided,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson says every morning when he heads to work, he wakes up his son, tells him he loves him and reminds him to lock the door. Something he said he did Tuesday morning, never suspecting the news that would follow hours later.
The 16-year-old is due back in court at the end of the month.
Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.