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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

William Payne, San Francisco Man, Accused of 1983 Murder of Texas Man

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 4:25 PM

William Payne, suspect
  • William Payne, suspect

Nearly 30 years after Nikolaus Crumbley, 41, was brutally  murdered in San Francisco's McLaren Park, police have arrested the person who they believe to be the killer.

On Monday, police arrested William Payne, 47, at Walden House -- a substance abuse treatment center -- on suspicion of killing Crumbley, who was visiting from Texas. Police linked Payne to DNA evidence taken from a swab of Crumbley's rectum during his autopsy.

On Nov. 16, 1983, police found Crumbley strangled in McLaren Park; he had his pants and his underwear pulled down to his knees. Crumbley had been visiting San Francisco and was last seen before his death with another man at a local hotel.

Payne, who was a teenager at the time of the killing, appeared in court today for his arraignment, which was continued to Thursday.
Nikolaus Crumbley, victim
  • Nikolaus Crumbley, victim

In 2004, a swab of Crumbley's rectum was tested by the San Francisco crime lab. The test found semen that was matched to Payne in the state Department of Justice's DNA database in 2009, according to the affidavit.

Crumbley's parents have since died, but a cousin was reportedly notified of the arrest, according to police.

"Cold hit DNA is integral to bringing criminals to justice," said District Attorney George Gascon said. "This case shows that at times justice can be delayed but it cannot be denied."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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