DNA match links murder suspect to 2009 Hattiesburg sexual assault

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A recent DNA test has linked a Hattiesburg man accused of murder to a 2009 sexual assault.

Howard James Payton, 35, is awaiting trial for the 2011 murder of Marco Harris, who was shot to death while sitting in his car at a gas station on the Highway 42 bypass.

In prison, a DNA test matched him to the 2009 sexual assault of a USM student who was kidnapped from her apartment on Oak Grove Road.

In addition to the murder charge, Payton now faces one count of kidnapping and four counts of sexual battery.

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