A Shreveport man accused of masturbating outside a local business and then attempting to coerce a witness was convicted Thursday, September 12, 2019, in Caddo District Court.
A six-person jury — three men, three women — unanimously found Eric D. Payne, 38, of Shreveport, guilty of third-offense obscenity and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors plan to seek habitual-offender sentencing for Payne, so when he returns to District Judge Katherine Dorroh’s courtroom September 19, he faces 20 years to life in prison. The normal sentencing range for the offenses is up to five years each.
The jury, selected Wednesday, September 11, 2019, heard evidence Thursday, September 12, 2019, and deliberated an hour before returning the verdicts mid-afternoon. The jury determined that on February 21, 2018, Payne pulled his truck into a parking spot in front of a tax-preparation business in the 3700 block of Jewella Avenue, and after calling attention to himself to a receptionist behind the glass front of the business, raised his hips and began to masturbate. The receptionist called police, who apprehended Payne before he could flee. While incarcerated awaiting trial, Payne phoned a third party and instructed him to offer money to the receptionist in an attempt to persuade her to either not appear at trial or testify he did not expose himself in the parking lot. This call was recorded and introduced at trial.
The case, State v. Eric Payne, was docket No. 3558998. Payne has previous convictions for obscenity in 2007 and 2014, respectively docket Nos. 256285 and 324521. He also has five prior felony drug convictions and a felony conviction for aggravated flight.
Prosecutors were Assistant District Attorneys Jason Waltman and Trinicia Leonard. Payne was defended by Jeff Sampson.