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Murder case moves forward

August 30, 2018

KINGMAN — A Meadview murder suspect withdrew his request for a new defense attorney on Monday.

Victor Steven Empie, 64, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and attempted arson of an occupied structure. He is being held in custody on a $1 million bond.

Empie withdrew a motion for the judge to reconsider his previous decision to deny Empie a new attorney. Empie said he has resolved or is resolving any issues he had with his latest attorney, Randall Craig, of Scottsdale.

Craig said he plans to introduce a guilty-except-insane defense at trial. Craig was assigned to Empie’s case in March. Four of Empie’s previous attorneys withdrew from his murder case in February.

Deputy Mohave County Attorney Bob Moon said he hopes to set a trial date by the next hearing.

Superior Court Commissioner Billy Sipe Jr. set Empie’s next hearing for Sept. 17.

In March 2017, Empie was ruled competent to stand trial after two psychologists gave conflicting testimony whether Empie was competent. One psychologist testified that Empie was delusional, reportedly distrusting police and the judicial system.

Empie was arrested and charged with murdering his neighbor, John Hewett Payne, 66, after a fight in Meadview on April 8, 2016. Empie allegedly crashed his truck into Payne’s recreational vehicle, knocking the trailer off its jacks, the sheriff’s office reported.

The noise of Empie’s truck crashing into their Gladiola Drive home woke Payne and his wife. As Payne opened his front door, Empie shot Payne in the abdomen, killing him, according to the sheriff’s office.

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