3 defendants to face murder hearing in January

James Boatwright, 22 (left) and Davontra Alston, 26 (right)
James Boatwright, 22 (left) and Davontra Alston, 26 (right)(WIBW)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Three men charged in the April 4 slaying of a 28-year-old man will hear testimony tied to the killing during a three-day preliminary hearing in mid-January, which was scheduled on Friday.

The defendants are Diquan Dashiaud Clayton, 27, James D. Boatwright, 22, and Davontra Leonard Alston, 27, according to court records.

Clayton, Boatwright and Alston have been charged with premeditated first-degree murder, an alternative charge of felony first-degree murder, and criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle resulting in great bodily harm, court records said.

The murder victim is listed as D’Angelo Leigh Payne, whose body was found in a central Topeka neighborhood.

Clayton also is charged with conspiracy to commit premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Payne, court records said.

Boatwright also is charged with one count of violation of an order issued by the governor during a state of disaster emergency, a misdemeanor, court records said.

On Friday, Shawnee County District Court Judge Jason Geier scheduled the preliminary hearing of the three defendants to be January 11, 12 and 13

Deputy District Attorney Brett Watson had filed a motion in district court seeking to consolidate the preliminary hearings of the three defendants.

On Friday, when asked individually, the three defense attorneys didn’t object to consolidating only the preliminary hearing of the three men.

The “cases arise from the same facts and circumstances,” the preliminary hearing motion said.

“The state does not seek to join these cases for trial but only preliminary hearing,” the motion said.

On April 4, 2020, law enforcement officers were dispatched to the area of S.W. 5th and Western at approximately 11:27 p.m. after the shooting was reported.

Arriving officers found that a 2001 Ford Taurus had left the road and crashed in the front yard of 512 S.W. Western. Payne was identified as the driver and only person in the vehicle.

Payne was suffering a single gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation led to the arrest of Boatwright in April, the arrest of Clayton in May, and the arrest of Alston in September.

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