West Peoria man charged in death of wife, 8-year-old son


WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised due to the graphic nature of the story.

WEST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Details have emerged after Quadreka S. Payne, 32, and her 8-year-old son Cael Thornton were found shot to death in West Peoria Thursday morning.

Prosecutors revealed in court Friday that 34-year-old Rickey J. Payne, who was arrested Thursday in connection to the double homicide, is facing six counts of first-degree murder, three for Quadreka Payne and three for Cael.

Rickey Payne also has prior offenses in both Iowa and Mississippi.

Deputies were dispatched to the home on Cedar Avenue at about 8:15 a.m. Thursday after they received a call about a man having trouble with his wife.

When they arrived, Rickey Payne told deputies he was locked outside. He then told them he had 15-month-old twins inside.

Deputies forced themselves into the home for a welfare check. Inside on the first floor, they found Quadreka Payne laying in a pool of her own blood and was apparently shot in the face.

Upstairs, they found Cael dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the head, as well as the twins in a pack-and-play.

Outside the house, deputies found a silver pistol. Neighbors told deputies they saw Rickey smoking cigarettes outside on a stump earlier that day.

Prosecutors said Quadreka Payne’s brother gave deputies Facebook messages of Quadreka saying she was afraid of Rickey Payne and feared for her safety.

Initially, Rickey Payne denied having the silver pistol found outside the home, but he later admitted to having it.

He told deputies he got into an argument with Quadreka Payne inside the home on the first floor Wednesday night, and said the argument was allegedly over Quadreka Payne receiving late-night messages.

He said Quadreka Payne had a gun of her own and that she pulled it out before putting it back. He said he then pulled out his gun, the silver pistol mentioned, and she tried to take it from him.

In the struggle for the gun, Rickey Payne said he overpowered her and the gun went off, shooting Quadreka Payne in the face. When she got back up, he said he shot her again.

Rickey Payne said Cael kept coming downstairs to investigate the noise, despite being told to stay upstairs.

Rickey Payne said he then followed Cael upstairs and shot the 8-year-old boy twice in the head. He said he killed the boy because Cael was preventing him from “cleaning up the mess downstairs.”

Friday, Rickey Payne opted for a public defender, but he said he would eventually hire a lawyer.

Prosecutors asked the judge for a $5 million bond, while Rickey Payne’s public defender asked for $1 million. The judge agreed to the $5 million bond, saying he never had to set a bond that high before, but he felt the case warranted it.

Rickey Payne is due back in court on Oct. 27.

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