Paris murder suspect claims self-defense - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Paris murder suspect claims self-defense

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KTEN/Lamar County Jail KTEN/Lamar County Jail

PARIS, Texas -- Early Sunday morning, 19-year-old Asa Coker called 911 with a dramatic message: He had killed someone.

When police arrived at the residence of Jason Payne in the 1000 block of Northeast 16th Street, they found him dead.

"I couldn't believe it, 'cause he's a good guy," said neighbor Angela Williams. "He stays to himself. He's really polite and respectful."

The feeling of disbelief was echoed by another neighbor, Tanishae Hanson: "For it to be someone who never bothered anyone... it's unbelievable."

Payne, 30, had been letting Coker stay in his home after meeting him a couple of weeks before, according to Payne's cousin Michael Sikes.

"My friends went home at 11:30 and the dude was still going, and my cousin was ready to call it a night," Sikes said. "Next thing you know, he's not with us anymore."

Paris police Lt. John Berry said Coker is claiming self-defense, but declined to release additional information about the case. "It's a horrible thing," Berry said.

Sikes said his cousin was like a brother to him: "Jason, I love that man. He was a hard worker. He had the best work ethic."

Asa Coker remains in the Lamar County Jail charged with murder. Bond was set at $1 million.

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