Man who allegedly murdered neighbor has court appearance

Victor Steven Empie


Victor Steven Empie

KINGMAN – Alleged murderer Victor Steven Empie made a court appearance Monday morning in front of Judge Billy Sipe in Mohave County Superior Court.

Empie, 61, of Meadview, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 66-year-old John Hewett Payne, and the attempted first-degree murder of Payne’s wife, 61. They were neighbors.

Prosecutor Robert Moon told Sipe that a doctor examining Empie wanted permission to obtain Empie’s medical records from four other sources, but they had not received the OK yet from the defendant.

Sipe scheduled the next court date Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. Ira Shiflett, a deputy public defender for Mohave County, is representing Empie.

Shiflett said Monday afternoon that Empie had signed the waivers to release his medical records. Shiflett said he would be forwarding them to Moon.

Empie, in a previous court appearance Sept. 15, told Sipe that he desired a different lawyer. Sipe told him to put the reasons why in a detailed message. But so far, Shiflett is still representing Empie.

Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 4000 block of Gladiola Drive on April 8 and found Payne lying dead in his doorway. He had been shot in the stomach.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Trish Carter said Payne and his wife were jarred awake after Empie allegedly drove his Ford pickup into their recreational vehicle, which was knocked off its jacks.

“As Payne opened his front door, Empie was standing there with a firearm and shot Payne,” said Carter. “Payne had an ongoing dispute with his neighbors.”

Carter said Empie surrendered and “provided statements that led to his arrest.”