95-Year-Old Colorado Man Allegedly Murders Assisted-Living Employee

A 95-year-old man in Colorado was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly murdering an assisted-living employee he suspected of stealing from him. Okey Payne is under investigation for first-degree murder over the death of Ricardo Medina-Rojas, according to a report by Reuters. On Friday, the Boulder County District Court ordered Payne to be held without Bond.

Payne had to be brought to court by wheelchair due to his old age, yet he is suspected of shooting Media-Rojas over $200. Payne was a resident at the Legacy Assisted Living center while Media-Rojas was its maintenance director. The facility is located in Lafayette, Colorado, about 20 miles from Denver. Payne confessed to the shooting soon after he was taken into custody.

According to an arrest affidavit, Payne said that he confronted Medina-Rojas when Medina-Rojas arrived for work on Wednesday, saying: "Where's my $200?" Suspecting that Media-Rojas had stolen cash from him, Payne shot the maintenance director in the head. He told an officer he "blew Ricardo away" during questioning.

Authorities believe Payne's confession is reliable in spite of his age. They reported that he was lucid throughout his questioning and his account of the shooting had not changed. His only ailment so far as they could tell was that he is hard of hearing.

Payne said that he moved into Legacy in October of 2019 and that he believed the staff at the center had been stealing from him since the very beginning. He claimed that they were conspiring with his ex-wife to take his money. Police were unable to substantiate any of these accusations.

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Another employee at the center reportedly told police that Payne actually had a personal vendetta against Medina-Rojas. She said that Payne had a particular dislike for Medina-Rojas on top of his general distrust of everyone there, and said that Payne had once threatened to kill two employees before. At the time, he allegedly said he had nothing to lose, saying: "What are they going to do? Give me life?"

Payne's first day in court was Friday, and he is due back there on Wednesday, Feb. 10 for to be formally charged. He has been assigned a public defender but so far no one from that office has publicly commented on his case.