Monroe City man gets seven-year prison sentence for role in October 2022 death outside Hannibal bar

Thomas Payne

Thomas Payne | Photo courtesy of Marion County Jail

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A Boone County judge on Friday sentenced Thomas Payne of Monroe City to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections after an October 2023 jury found him guilty of third-degree assault in connection to the October 2022 death of a man outside a Hannibal bar. 

Payne was found guilty on Oct. 6 after a three-day trial before Judge J. Hasbrouck Jacobs. However, the jury also found Payne was not guilty of second-degree assault.

The sentencing range for third-degree assault is normally up to one year in the county jail or between one and four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. However, Marion County Prosecutor Luke Bryant said because Payne is a prior and persistent felony offender, the level of range of punishment was increased to up to seven years in prison.

Court records show Jacobs received 15 letters of support from friends and family members of Payne. He also received 26 victim impact statements on behalf of Dusty Wilson, 49, of Hannibal, who was found in the street outside Rumor Has It Bar and Grill, 125 N. Main, in the early morning hours of Oct. 9, 2022, with substantial head trauma. He was transported to Hannibal Regional Hospital and later to a trauma center in Columbia, Mo., where he died from his injuries.

Payne originally was charged with first-degree assault and second-degree murder in the death of Wilson. However, he eventually was charged with second-degree assault (recklessly causing serious physical injury) and third-degree assault (knowingly causing physical injury).

Payne was represented by Columbia attorney Matthew Perry. Corie Geary of Union and Lauren Welborn of Springfield, Mo., both assistant attorneys general, were part of the prosecution team. The case was moved to Boone County on a change of venue motion in December 2022.

A probable cause statement from the Hannibal Police Department about the night of Wilson’s death said a witness saw Jordan Payne (Thomas Payne’s brother) knocking Wilson’s hat off and arguing with him before a physical altercation started. The same witness said Thomas Payne struck Wilson several times.

Charges against Jordan Payne were dropped in January.

Kaelin Rickey, 27, of Hannibal pled guilty to one count of second-degree assault during a Sept. 25 appearance before Judge Jeff Harris in the Boone County Courthouse. In exchange for Rickey’s plea, counts of second-degree murder and evidence tampering were dismissed. She will be sentenced Feb. 13.

A trial for Tiara Bonner, who has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault, was set to start Monday in Adair County. However, a continuance was granted on Oct. 31 to move the trial to June 28.

A trial for Jason Anderson, who has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault, is scheduled to begin Jan. 30 in Boone County. 

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