A 17-year-old Gordonsville teen pleaded guilty in Louisa County Circuit Court on Friday to charges of first-degree murder, malicious wounding, robbery, burglary and firearm violations stemming from an attack on a couple last November.
Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire said in a prepared statement that the policy of his office is to not release the name of a juvenile offender, even though he was tried as an adult. However, public online court records identify the youth as Cameryn Anthony Dickerson.
Authorities said the defendant, Dickerson, was 16 years old when on Nov. 10 he went to the home of Roger and Nancy Payne, 82 and 73 years old, respectively, using an alias and alleging that his girlfriend had been abducted.
Prosecutors said authorities believe he was scouting the Paynes’ home. He returned there two days later telling the couple his girlfriend was all right. He then left and returned wearing different clothing and carrying a sawed-off shotgun.
“He told the couple he had been watching them and knew they had money. He demanded their money and forced them to get dressed. He took their phones, cut the phone lines to the house, and marched them out back to the train tracks behind the house all the while assuring them they would be fine,” according to McGuire’s office.
Authorities said, “He then shot both of them at point-blank range.”
Roger Payne was killed instantly and Nancy Payne was left for dead with a gunshot wound to her throat. “Miraculously, she survived by playing dead and walked to a friend’s house once the defendant left the scene,” McGuire’s office said.
Hours later, law enforcement caught the defendant driving the couple’s car in Nelson County on his way to see his girlfriend. He had used some of the stolen money to buy gifts for her. The murder weapon was found in the trunk, and he was arrested.
Dickerson faces three life sentences when he is sentenced in November.
In his statement, McGuire said, “This atrocity shocked our community and devastated the Payne family. ... The family understands we cannot control the Virginia Parole Board, but they agreed that the addition of the statement of facts to the public record is our best chance.”
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert M. Wood, who also prosecuted the case, added, “We are thankful to the multiple law enforcement agencies that swiftly worked in tandem to apprehend the murderer. Their quick coordination across county lines took a murderer off the street.”
The release from McGuire’s office said it changed a long-standing policy by requiring the defendant in this case to sign a written statement of facts outlining his conduct due to a report released Thursday critical of the Virginia Parole Board.
An inspector general found that the parole board failed to allow the victim’s family a meeting with the board before making the decision to release a man convicted of murder. McGuire’s office said it wanted the Payne family to have a notarized copy of the statement of facts in the event that this case is before the parole board in the future.