Psych Evaluation Ordered for Felon Accused of Murdering Fellow Inmate

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

MURRIETA (CNS) – A mental health evaluation was ordered Thursday for a multi-convicted felon accused of fatally beating a fellow inmate at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.

Micky Rodney Payne, 33, of Perris, allegedly killed 24-year-old Mark Anthony Spratt of Fontana in January.

Payne is charged with murder and battery on a custodial officer.

During a hearing Thursday at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elaine Kiefer ruled in favor of a defense motion seeking a psychiatric assessment of Payne, appointing two court- approved behavioral health specialists to conduct the evaluation.

The judge set a hearing on the initial results for May 4.

Payne is being held without bail at the Murrieta jail.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Baeza, about 1:30 a.m. Jan. 12, correctional deputies were alerted to a “disturbance” in one of the cells and went to investigate, at which point they discovered Spratt “unresponsive with several injuries.”

Court records indicated the defendant became physical with correctional officers when they entered his cell, but no specific details were provided.

Baeza said first aid was rendered at the scene, and Spratt was taken to a regional trauma center, where he died.

Central Homicide Unit detectives were summoned to question the victim’s cellmate, Payne, culminating in his formal arrest inside the correctional facility, according to the sergeant.

A possible motive and further information regarding what might have transpired in the jail cell were not disclosed.

According to court records, Payne has prior convictions for battery on a public safety official, resisting arrest, attempting to take a peace officer’s firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse and false imprisonment.

He had been booked into the Byrd Detention Center on Dec. 30 for alleged probation violations.

Jail records indicated that Spratt was arrested in Jurupa Valley on Jan. 10 on suspicion of identity theft and forgery. It was unclear whether prosecutors intended to file charges against him. He was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail at the time of the attack.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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