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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Minnick gets maximum 160-year sentence

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 ~ Updated 12:53 AM

BEDFORD -- Lawrence Circuit Court Judge Andrea McCord needed five, single-spaced pages to announce the fate of twice-convicted murderer William A. Minnick.

Escorted by Lawrence County deputies, William Minnick makes his way to the courthouse for a resentencing hearing in the 30-year-old Martha Payne murder case Tuesday afternoon at Bedford. Judge Andrea McCord imposed the maximum sentence of 160 years for murder, rape and robbery. That means barring a successful appeal, Minnick would be 98 the next time he is eligible for release from prison.
Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter summed it up in three words: "He'll be 98."

That is how old Minnick will be when he next becomes eligible for release from the Indiana State Prison, following the 160-year maximum sentence Judge McCord imposed late Tuesday afternoon.

Minnick, 48, has spent the past 10,893 days in prison for the Oct. 26, 1981 murder of Martha Rushing Payne, a 24-year-old Greencastle woman slain in her own home at 9 S. Locust St. He could spend the next 18,250 days there as well.

After an emotional four-hour day in the Bedford courtroom, Judge McCord advised that the Indiana Supreme Court has noted that "the maximum possible sentences are generally most appropriate for the worst offenders."

"This is not a guideline to determine whether a worse offender could be imagined," she continued, "however, the acts of brutality imposed on Mrs. Payne by the defendant that are set forth in the facts related in the jury's verdict show a particularly terrorizing and agonizing manner in which this offense was committed and leads this court to an aggravated sentence."

Minnick, formerly of Greencastle, was found guilty of murder, rape and robbery on Sept. 18, 1985 in the same courtroom where he was resentenced Tuesday.

Judge McCord ordered that the 60-year maximum sentence for murder and 50-year sentences on both the rape and robbery counts must be served consecutively rather than concurrently for a total of 160 years.

Had the sentences been imposed to run concurrently, Minnick would have been eligible for release on Oct. 27, 2011 -- the 30th anniversary of his arrest in the brutal case.

The judge advised Minnick of his right to appeal the ruling, which he said he wishes to pursue. The court then appointed state public defenders to represent him on appeal.

Prosecutor Bookwalter indicated that with death-penalty sentence no longer part of the case, chances of a successful appeal are greatly diminished.

"The big issues on appeal are over," he said.

Bookwalter put the 30-year odyssey of the case in perspective in the moments after Minnick's resentencing.

"I think for our community, the fear was he'd get out. I have never had the community ask me so many questions about a case as they did this one. I think for our community that (160 years) was the best sentence."

The new sentence was obviously a relief as well to members of the Payne family, including the victim's husband, Jim Payne of Greencastle; her mother Eleanor Royer of Batesville, Ark.; and sister Sharon Rushing Powell of Lake City, Texas, all of whom testified at the hearing.

Bookwalter also called on longtime local police investigators, retired Indiana State Police Det. Richard Rice and former Putnam County Deputy (and former Greencastle police chief) Jim Hendrich.

Her mother told of a "very close" relationship with her daughter and detailed how Martha's murder affected her life.

Most dramatic was her brief story of visiting Greencastle and helping her daughter spruce up the Payne home. "I went up one time and helped her make curtains for the bedroom," she said, pausing to catch her breath before adding, "where she died."

Her sister Sharon also spoke of being greatly affected by Martha's death, noting how she was pregnant at the time of the murder and had chatted with Martha about passing down a baby bed when she was ready to start a family.

Every memory of Martha, she said, would end up being "tied to her last few minutes."

She likened the situation to having a broken arm and still trying to reach out for something despite knowing how extremely painful it was going to be. Judge McCord quoted that statement in remarks preceding her sentencing pronouncement.

The lengthiest testimony was given by Jim Payne, now 54, remarried and living and working again in Greencastle. Most of Jim's remarks were similar to those he made to the Banner Graphic that were included in recent stories.

However, when asked what he thought the outcome of Tuesday's hearing ought to be, Payne didn't mince any words.

"I think the person who killed her and stalked her and waited for me to be gone so he could do it, should not ever get out (of prison)," he said, calling it a premeditated crime.

"If Martha hadn't been killed that day," Payne said, "someone else would have been real soon. It was only a matter of time."

Minnick's attorney, Monica Foster, tried to get the proceedings halted by claiming Minnick was not competent to assist his legal counsel.

However, back in March the Indiana Department of Mental Health had ruled Minnick competent, setting the wheels in motion for a resentencing that had lingered undone since July 28, 2004 when the Indiana Supreme Court ordered his underlying sentence (the death penalty) was no longer valid.

Judge McCord took note of Minnick's competency in her remarks prior to sentencing, saying she had observed him sitting calmly and quietly, interacting with his counsel and his statement to the court was "clear, concise and lucid."

Jim Payne breathed an audible sigh of relief from the audience after the sentencing was announced.

"I'm wrung out," he admitted, "but I'm relieved. We all had the fear he could get out and end up not getting any time for the rape and robbery."

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Now there's a big surprise...I doubt there is a judge in Indiana that would've given him any less.

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 6:19 PM

Should've been the death penalty!!!

-- Posted by whats-my-beef on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 6:26 PM

Let's break this down...

Bill Minnick (age 48)

Eligible for release 2061 (50 years)

Average cost per day in the United States to house an inmate= $129.00

365 days per year= $47,085.00 per year

50 years= $2,354,250.00

Average expense of lethal injection:

$168 in medicine and syringes

$340 for the doctor

Total expense: $500.00

-- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 7:02 PM

Job Security for correctional officers.

-- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 7:15 PM

should have got the death penalty.Would have been cheaper

-- Posted by my opinion 2 on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 7:20 PM


-- Posted by Michele1953 on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 8:04 PM

.22 long rifle cartridge: $0.25.

Watching an evile mope like this writhe on the ground after a .22 enters his brain via the ear canal: priceless.

-- Posted by chazm_vet on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 9:36 PM

Theres probably more to the story...but if Bill wants to take the blame for the whole thing, I dont feel sorry for him. But I still have always been frightened of who isn't in prison.

-- Posted by whatever!!! on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 10:18 PM


-- Posted by Michele1953 on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 10:30 PM

Want facts instead of rumors and conjecture? Here they are:


-- Posted by Clovertucky on Tue, Aug 23, 2011, at 10:44 PM

Clovertucky.....I read the entire transcript from the link above and still believe he belongs behind bars, period.

-- Posted by dcsaiht on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 8:26 AM

I read the above link a few days ago and I believe that he had a part in it but I doubt he acted alone.

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 8:29 AM

Thank you Clovertucky, that was a long but insightful read. Littered with police and judicial mistakes and miscalls.. Now without out saying the man did or did not do it, I will say that once again the law enforcement was quick to point fingers.Everyone should read that though now that it is over "maybe" . But after reading what Colvertucky said and a little more research the probablity of a persons actual guilt is significately dropped do to the investigative portion of the case..


@Michele1953 you do know your capslock is on right? And I am not casting any stones sunshine..

-- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 8:43 AM

I firmly believe Minnick either acted alone or was involved. However I leave the decision up to each person and just produce the record for each to read.

-- Posted by Clovertucky on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 10:04 AM

I'm still in favor of hard time for guys like this. Let him break rocks 8 hours a day. Make him so tired he doesn't have the energy to file appeal after appeal.

Enjoy that box you are going to live and die in punk!

-- Posted by conffool on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 12:24 PM

If Minnick was there and he didn't die trying to stop it, he is guilty in my eyes.

-- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 12:32 PM

I do not know if he is guilty or not. I do know that Bill seemed a little mentally handicapped as a kid and I think he could have been manipulated easily by someone intelligent or a bully. I had witnessed him defending a girl that a young boy was tormenting outside of a basketball game so it always made me wonder how he could go from that to this. I did know him back then I wouldn't say we were friends but I knew him if he did it he deserves whatever he gets.

-- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 1:45 PM

I have a grand idea - let's take the list of things that were done to Mrs. Payne and do them to Minnick. Let's put it on pay-per-view. Charge $29.95 per person to watch. I figure the income would be enough to pay back the state for what they've already spent taking care of him. I'd like to see that instituted for most of the torture-murderers out there. After a few potential murders saw what they might be subject to if they're caught, perhaps the murder rates might slow down in some of the bigger cities.

-- Posted by KittyBelle on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 2:07 PM

Violence begets violence....would doing those things to him make you a better person or every bit as bad??

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 4:40 PM

KittyBelle; Sounds like George Carlin... Pay for View Executions. One of his Funniest shows on HBO. How to pay the freakin national debt, Pay for View Executions.

-- Posted by macvrod on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 6:05 PM

It was probably more amusing when George Carlin said it.

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 6:22 PM

Don't be fooled into thinking that our local law enforcement are a bunch of baffoons. What they lack in savvy is more than offset by the uncanny ability of the prosecutors office to outwit defense attorneys in the courtroom. If I were Minnick,I would have a far greater distaste for my legal counsel than anyone representing the State.

-- Posted by Vernie1 on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 7:02 PM

I moved from kentucky to greencastle in 1977. I remember bill and earl from school. Bill was always the more timid of the two. I never knew this louis rachel aka Ace but if my memory serves me wasn't he there when all of this was happening and didn't he say he stood in the corner and mastrabated while this was going on? I knew bill and i didn't think he was smart enough to do something this heinous. Where can someone find the archives of the original trial and research the findings?

-- Posted by homasassa on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 9:50 PM

He gets to wake up every morning and breath the fresh air, he gets visits from family and friends and ect.He took away from Martha she doesn't get the the choice to wake up every morning, or to be a mother,a sunday school teacher, or the right to grow old with her mate.Intend us tax payer pays for his room and board and for him to read law books and try to find away to get out. Wow ! I feel sorry for his mother also for having to go through the hell he has put her through. But most of all Mr. Pyne.In the begining I was undecided, but in 1983 when my aunt sat on the jury. and I talked to her. There is no dault in my mind hes guilty has charged. Dale Brewer did a GREAT JOB! on this case. Thanks to Dale our streets are little more safer.

-- Posted by mamawfolck on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 10:12 PM

@citizenoftheworld... You are almost as sick as he is.. And yes...violence begets violence... The murder rate will not go down, because these sick individuals, are just that SICK, and they don't even think of the consequences of their actions, they are mentally sick!!! Common... get real!!!!!

-- Posted by skater chic on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 4:00 PM

Skater...Thank you so much for pointing our how sick I am.Thank you for your kind words. You have not evolved much have you? Murder in the name of justice is still murder.Beating the hell outta some one is so wrong..killing is wrong..what happen to Mrs.Payne was a horrible, heinous act but what good will come from inflicting the same on Mr. Minnick or any of the other sickos.The death penalty has never been a deterrance to the crime rate.You can look that up...I'm not going to bother throwing out statistics for you to argue about.This eye for an eye crap is just stupid.If he is guilty...he's locked away where he cannot hurt anyone esle.I am not going to bother replying to you again so spew all the hatred you want. Do onto others...he didn't follow that moral code but maybe you should consider it...if you can manage to comprehend that thought.

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:56 PM

I apologize citizenoftheworld, I read the wrong response and responded to the wrong comment.I was responding to the comment made by Kittybelle, you are right about what you said.. I will make sure I read the right name before responding to a comment. So please except my apology. SKATER

-- Posted by skater chic on Sat, Aug 27, 2011, at 6:12 PM

Thank you Skater!

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Sun, Aug 28, 2011, at 10:01 AM


-- Posted by skater chic on Tue, Aug 30, 2011, at 7:50 AM

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