Nikolaus Crumbley Homicide: Jury Deadlocked on Cold Case Murder

Categories: Law & Order
Nikolaus Crumbley, victim
A San Francisco jury deadlocked on whether a local man was responsible for strangling Nikolaus Crumbley and leaving his body at McLaren Park nearly three decades ago.

District Attorney George Gascón said that despite DNA evidence linking 48-year-old William Payne to the crime scene, the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. 

"DNA evidence and independent corroborating testimony linked the defendant to the brutal rape and murder of Mr. Crumbley," Gascón said. "We are disappointed with the outcome and will be evaluating how to proceed with the case." Payne, who was a teenager at the time of the incident, was arrested in January at Walden House -- a substance abuse treatment center -- on suspicion of killing 41-year-old Crumbley, who was visiting from Texas. Police linked Payne to DNA evidence taken from a swab of Crumbley's rectum during his autopsy.

William Payne
Crumbley was a civilian employee with the military and was in town on business, police said. On Nov. 16, 1983, police found Crumbley strangled in McLaren Park; he had his pants and his underwear pulled down to his knees. Crumbley was last seen before his death with another man at a local hotel.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office ruled the victim's death a homicide and the cause of death from ligature strangulation. The San Francisco Crime Lab was notified by the California Department of Justice that via their DNA database, a match was identified between the DNA evidence sample was taken from the victim as well as Payne.

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