Motions Denied In TN Man’s 2022 Attempted Murder of Chapin Police Chief Case

By Benjamin Cox on April 10, 2024 at 11:20am

Multiple motions by a Tennessee man’s defense attorney in a case where he is accused of shooting Chapin’s Police Chief and running from law enforcement were denied on Friday in Brown County Circuit Court.

In obtained written orders, Brown County Circuit Judge Jerry Hooker denied 31-year old Daniel B. Payne of Greenbriar, Tennessee motions by his attorney to have the venue changed and to have statements and evidence suppressed.

Payne is facing a charge of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. He is currently held at the Schuyler County Jail on $1 million bond.

Payne’s attorney John Rogers filed a motion for a change of venue and the motions to suppress evidence in January when he took over the case. Rogers argued that adverse media coverage would cause undue bias for the local jury pool resulting in Payne not receiving a fair trial.

Rogers motion to suppress evidence are based on the argument that he feels Payne was unlawfully detained in Meredosia on the night of the shooting March 26, 2022 by Meredosia Police Officer Steve Lowry. Lowry testified in Brown County Court back in October that he stopped Payne’s vehicle for speeding and that upon interaction with Payne, believed he was under the influence of alcohol and also saw an uncased handgun in the vehicle. After Lowry drew his service weapon, Payne fled the stop and a vehicle chase ensued through Morgan, Pike, and Brown counties. Judge Hooker denied the unlawful detainment motion saying the facts presented a legal arrest due to enough probable cause to detain Payne during the initial stop.

Rogers also motioned to suppress an interview conducted by an Illinois State Police officer with Payne at Culbertson Hospital in Rushville after his arrest. According to facts provided in the case, Rogers maintains that Payne was impaired at the time of the interview because he had a concussion from his vehicle crashing at the end of the police chase and he had been given a Xanax by doctors. The investigator testified he read Payne’s rights to him, asked him if understood them, and Payne sign a waiver that he understood them.

In the final motion to suppress, Rogers argued that Payne was not given an option to be represented by an attorney during an interview at the Schuyler County Jail. After testimony from the state police investigator, Hooker said Payne did not make a clear request for an attorney, only that he could not afford an attorney.

Payne is accused of shooting Chapin Police Chief Steve Helmich as Helmich and other officers approached Payne’s car after it had crashed. Helmich was struck in the stomach and upper left thigh. Helmich spent nearly 3 weeks in Springfield Memorial Hospital. After intense physical therapy, Helmich was cleared to return to duty on April 3, 2023.

After multiple delays and continuances, a final status hearing in the case is expected within the next two months. Brown County State’s Attorney Michael Hill told the Journal Courier a likely trial in the case isn’t expected until sometime this Fall.