Son of former Libby police chief arrested on suspicion of murder in Texas

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Asa Coker, 19, son of former Libby Police Chief Clayton Coker, was arrested Sunday in Paris, Texas on suspicion of murder.

According to Paris Police Lt. John Berry, Asa Coker told police he killed Jason Payne, 30, inside a home in the 1000 block of NE 16th Street in Paris.

Police were dispatched to that location after receiving a 911 call at 3:14 a.m. Sunday from an individual identifying himself as Asa Coker, Berry confirmed in a Thursday morning phone interview.

Responding officers found the body of a man later identified as Jayson Payne of Paris.

“Mr. Coker was still on scene and was taken into custody without incident,” Berry wrote in a statement released Monday.

According to the police statement, Coker claimed self-defense and is being held on suspicion of murder.

His bail was set at $1 million, according to a report by Texas NBC affiliate KTEN.

A report by Texas Fox affiliate KXII, sourced by an affidavit, states that Coker told police he killed Payne inside Payne’s home because he alleges Payne tried to sexually assault him. The report states the affidavit also says Coker told police he hit Payne with a hammer and stabbed him with a knife.

In the Thursday phone interview Berry would not comment on those reports, explaining that the police department had not yet released any details beyond those in its Monday statement.

Clayton Coker, currently sheriff of Dunn County, North Dakota, was chief of the Libby Police Department from 1996 to 2009. He later taught ethics at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.

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