Madison man pleads not guilty in deaths of mother, fiancee

A Madison County man pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of murder in the deaths of his mother and fiancée.

John Payne, 37, of Waco was arraigned before Madison District Judge Charles Hardin. Payne also pleaded not guilty to a count of tampering with physical evidence.

Hardin scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for Dec. 15. At that time, Judge Brandy Brown will hear evidence on whether there is probable cause to send the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The bodies of Payne's mother, Cornelia Mullins, 55, and his fiancée, Meredith King, 32, were found Saturday at the mother's house at 506 Hillsdale Avenue in Richmond.

The two died of gunshot wounds, but Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock would not release more details on Monday. Autopsies confirmed they were shot but Brock declined to discuss any other details, including a motive.

"We have some ideas but we're not willing to release that information at this point," Brock said. "There are a couple of different theories as exactly what led to it, but we don't have a single motive nailed down yet, shall we say."

It's still unclear how long the bodies had been in the house before they were found. "Right now our best estimate is that they were there three to four days prior to discovery," Brock said.

Payne was a registered sex offender, according to a Kentucky State Police sex offender registry Web site. The site said Payne was convicted in the rape of a 15-year-old.

Payne remains lodged in the Madison County jail in lieu of a $500,000 cash bond.

Anyone with information is asked to call Richmond police at (859) 623-1162.