click to enlarge Terry Payton, charged with murdering his mother, is led into the Edgar County Courthouse by law enforcement officers on July 18. - PHOTO BY PATRICK YEAGLE
Terry Payton, charged with murdering his mother, is led into the Edgar County Courthouse by law enforcement officers on July 18.

This letter is written in rebuttal to the article “I killed my mom,” which appeared in Illinois Times July 21. We feel the article is unfair, inaccurate and one-sided. The opening line “after a life of abuse” is untrue. There may have been some instances of verbal abuse, however it is greatly exaggerated in this article. There is only one anonynomus witness to any physical beating. Remember Terry stands 6 feet 4 inches and his mom was disabled and walked with a cane. I don’t think she could reach high enough to put him in a headlock.

The grandma from England only met Terry one time before this tragic event. His father was deported from this country for criminal activity and never paid a dime for support. Also in the article you say that Terry liked to play Pokemon. In truth, Terry was obssessed with playing evil games such as Dungeons and Dragons and had more than 1,000 magic cards. This influence can be seen in part of the infamous text message where he says “I just killed el madre. I beat the s*** out of her and stabbed her 7 times. My dark side took over man. I need help getting rid of the body.”

Later in the article you tell Terry’s version of events where Terry first said that they were arguing and his mother said “I’m going to kill you” and reached for a knife in a cabinet so he grabbed a knife off of the counter and stabbed her in the chest then six more times. Later, however, according to Illinois State Police agent Crowder, he changed his story after learning that the autopsy revealed that his mother also had a fractured skull. This time he admitted to beating and slamming his mother’s head on the floor before she allegedly reached for a knife in a cabinet. Agent Crowder also said that there was no evidence that Kathie ever reached for a knife.

If we thought for one minute that Terry was acting in self defense we would fully support him. However, we know things not known by the general public that we are not at liberty to discuss that led us to conclude that he is guilty of premeditated murder.

Janice Burno and Duane Mills

The writers are sister and brother-in-law to Kathie Payton, who was killed June 23. Kathie Payton’s 16-year-old son, Terry, is charged with murder.

Response from Patrick Yeagle, Illinois Times staff writer:

Regarding the allegation that the headline is untrue, verbal abuse is still abuse, so “a life of abuse” is still accurate. In fact, more than one person told this reporter that they witnessed actual physical abuse or bruises on Terry. The anonymous neighbor was simply the most credible to the reporter because that person gave the information without any prompting or preparation.

The letter writers claim the article omits Terry Payton’s changing story, but the article did say that Terry’s story changed. It specifically says that Kathie’s skull showed signs of head trauma, so the police interviewed Terry again and learned that Terry struck her head on the kitchen floor several times before stabbing her repeatedly.

The Blago trial should make everything perfectly clear, money is the root of all corruption in our political system. Last week’s article by Rich Miller [see “How Stand for Children snuck into the Statehouse,” July 21] explains how one group managed to leverage influence in the last election.

Of course, no one will actually say “money buys votes,” but we all know it does. I believe the monetary influence needs to be eliminated.

Here is my suggestion: Campaign fundraising/contributions can only start two months before an election and all monies left over afterwards is donated to charities, scholarships and schools. Every penny must be given away after the election. No salary/payment can be given to political buddies or claimed as income.

This will stop buying influence and allow legislators to concentrate on everything else instead of raising money. The incumbent will not have a warchest-of-cash to outspend a challenger. It’s called having a level playing field.

Jeff Davis

In our July 21 story, “St. Patrick School welcomes new principal,” we stated incorrectly that Cathedral School is a pre-kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school. Cathedral has pre-kindergarten through eighth grades.

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