Howard 'Lil Dank' Payton dies in prison, investigation underway

Howard 'Lil Dank' Payton dies in prison, investigation underway
Howard "Lil Dank" Payton

LAMAR COUNTY, MS - A man convicted of rape and kidnapping in Lamar County died in prison Wednesday, and his death is being investigated as a homicide.

Howard "Lil Dank" Payton, 38, died Wednesday night around 8:20 p.m. at the Mississippi Correctional Institution in Greene County, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Payton was sentenced Jan. 7 after a trial where he was convicted of kidnapping and three counts of rape from a 2010 incident in Lamar County.

According to the indictment, related to the matter, on Sept. 19, 2010, in Lamar County, Payton did willfully, intentionally, and feloniously, without lawful authority for doing so, forcibly seize, confine, and kidnap, with intent to cause the victim to be confined or imprisoned against her will, by forcing the victim into a vehicle and holding her against her will.

The three counts of rape detailed in the indictment state that Payton did have forcible sexual intercourse with the victim.

District Attorney Hal Kittrell said, "This case is a lady's worst nightmare – to be kidnapped and raped three times by a predator. I cannot describe the courage it took for this victim to testify about these horrors in the courtroom. We thank her from the bottom of our hearts and sincerely hope she can rest easier knowing Payton is staying in prison. We would also like to thank all law enforcement officers involved for a job well done and thank the jury for their service. These sentences amount to three days less than 150 years for Mr. Payton to serve day for day in prison with no hope of early release or parole."

Payton was set to stand trial for additional rape charges later in 2016.

According to MDOC, the results of the autopsy are pending and no further information is being released at this time because of the ongoing investigation.