The David Payne Story
by David Gudas, Lewiston Police Department
On the Saturday afternoon of July 23, 1988 just before 3:00 p.m. while on her route, a U.S. Mail carrier named Bonita Hill happened upon what was perceived as an accident scene on a heavily wooded rural portion of River Road, located just one mile south of the intersection of the Alfred A. Plourde Parkway and River Road in Lewiston. The scene she had encountered consisted of a 1983 Dodge Challenger which she described as being “kind of in the woods” and “not really able to be seen” and a lone tall male standing outside of this car whose clothing was quite bloodied.
Ms. Hill stopped briefly to see if everything was okay, and after being assured all was fine, the male as she later described “calmly, politely and with a smile” asked her to call a wrecker (tow truck) for him at her next available opportunity.
Ms. Hill next did as any good Samaritan would have done, and at app. 3:00 p.m. at another mail delivery stop on River Road, she asked the resident of the home, Romeo Trichina to please call a wrecker service to assist the man she had just previously encountered.
Mr. Trichina did not call for a wrecker service, but instead called the police, and reported the situation Ms. Hill had just described to him. Based on the information provided, the call was in turn dispatched to officers as being a potential car accident.
Initially dispatched to this suspected routine automobile accident scene was Officer David Chamberlain, also responding to the scene of their own accord to assist etc. were Officer Donald Mailhot and Officer David Payne, all Officers drove separate police cars. Officers Payne and Mailhot had been working a double shift, and had been on duty since midnight that day.
The series of events that unfolded next would ultimately cost Officer David Payne his life, for this lone, tall, male individual with bloody clothes that Ms. Hill had just encountered was a convicted felon with an extensive past record of violent behavior, a cocaine addict, and on this particular day, he was also an armed and dangerous fugitive.
He was positively identified several weeks after this fateful day as Joseph Lee Loveall born on August 15, 1948 in San Mateo, California. Joseph Loveall was better known at the time by his alias name: Nicolo J. Leone, an alias which he had adopted in the late 1970’s. Besides this alias as well as some six others which were various combinations of the two aforementioned names, he had been utilizing various fictitious dates of birth of 01/15/45, 08/15/46 and 08/15/45. Many of his more recent arrests and convictions during the late 1970’s and 1980’s were made under this alias name of Nicolo Leone.
Joseph Loveall stood 6’5″ tall and weighed 190 lbs. and has a criminal history that dates back to 1961, he spent time in California juvenile correctional facilities, and in his adult years spent time in at least five different California adult correctional facilities, as well as other correctional facilities in Florida and Maine. Loveall’s numerous convictions over the years were for crimes such as Robbery, Burglary, Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, and Battery on a Police Officer.
The specific series of circumstances in Loveall’s life that brought him face to face with Officer Payne on this fateful day of July 23, 1988 started two years earlier and went as follows:
On the day Officer Payne was killed, Joseph Loveall ( better known at the time as Nicolo Leone) was in Maine on a transferred probation for the crime of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, an offense which he had committed in Apopka, Florida on August 3, 1986 by shooting a 26 year old male named Terry Kelvaugh 4 times in the head at close range with a .22 caliber firearm.
Loveall had fled to Maine after committing this crime in Apopka, Florida and was arrested in Lewiston, Maine on August 12, 1986 by Officer David Chick and Detective Eugene Gurney. Loveall was detained a short time in Maine and was ultimately returned to Florida where he remained incarcerated until his conviction and sentencing date on November 25, 1987. Upon his conviction, Loveall was credited with the time he had spent in jail. He was released from jail and was placed on probation for 10 years by the Orange County Superior Court in Florida.
On November 30, 1987 Loveall returned to Lewiston, Maine and reported to the Probation Authorities as directed. Loveall seemed to have followed the terms of his probation until June 17, 1988 at which time he was arrested in Lewiston by Officer David Chick for the charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended License and was later bailed .
On June 18, 1988 Sgt. Michael Kelly summonsed Loveall on yet a second charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended License.
On June 19, 1988 it was learned that Loveall’s wife Deborah Leone had reported that her husband Loveall (a.k.a. Nicolo Leone) had threatened her the day before with bodily harm.
On June 19, 1988 a probation hold was issued on Loveall, and he was arrested that same day by Officer David Chick.
Loveall was subsequently held in the Androscoggin County Jail and during the days Loveall was being held, Florida corrections officials were duly notified of Loveall’s failed probation.
On July 6, 1988 and July 9, 1988 teletypes were sent from the Florida Corrections officials to the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office advising them that they were in the process of obtaining and would soon be issuing a warrant on Loveall. They advised the Sheriff’s Office to not release Loveall on bail. On July 11, 1988 Florida corrections officials did “officially” issue a warrant on Loveall for violating his Florida probation.
The warrant was sent from Florida to Maine by regular mail, and did not arrive in Maine until July 18, 1988.
While the warrant was in transit through the U.S. Mail, Loveall’s Attorney Ronald Fortin filed a motion for de novo bail. A hearing on this motion occurred on July 13, 1988 at which time Loveall was released on his most recent probation violations (namely the threatening of his wife and the two charges of Operating a Motor Vehicle after his License had been Suspended). Loveall’s release and bail of $2,500.00 single surety was ordered by Superior Court Justice Donald Alexander
Justice Donald Alexander made this ultimately deadly decision with the full awareness that Florida Corrections officials had requested, albeit informally via teletype, that Loveall be held without bail, and that they were in the process of mailing a warrant to have Loveall extradited back to their State.
Since the actual warrant had not yet been received by the date of this hearing, Justice Alexander disregarded the informal requests to have Loveall held without bail, and without allowing any input from Probation officials went ahead and made the ill-fated decision to release Loveall.
Loveall had a friend who posted the bail right away and upon making that bail, Loveall was directed by his Probation Officer Pauline Greaton to report to her office on July 14, 1988.
On July 14, 1988 Loveall failed to report to his Probation Officer as directed. No probation hold was issued as the warrant from Florida was expected any day.
On July 18, 1988 the warrant authorizing Loveall’s (a.k.a. Nicolo Leone) arrest arrived in Maine.
July 20, 1988 Loveall failed to appear for an arraignment on a District Court charge of Operating after his License had been Suspended.
On July 22, 1988, Deborah Leone called Probation Officer Pauline Greaton at 3:22 p.m. advising she had been getting threatening phone calls from Loveall.
Since this was yet another violation for Loveall, and there was now the outstanding warrant recently received from Florida, Probation Officer Greaton and LPD officers began an aggressive search for Loveall checking his hangouts, and friends etc.
They were unable to locate him, but through conversations with people personally close to Loveall that evening, it was learned that Loveall was well aware of his fugitive status, and knew that his capture would probably mean an almost certain extradition back to Florida to serve some lengthy prison time.
By 9:22 p.m. on July 22, 1988 Probation Officer Greaton had learned through anonymous sources that Loveall may have stolen a car, and may be in possession of a stolen firearm. No one was able to locate Loveall that evening. This additional information was disseminated to the police.
This was the situation and type of individual that Officer David Payne was dealing with on July 23, 1988 when he responded to that routine car accident call.
Further intensifying this situation, on this same day of July 23, 1988 Joseph Loveall was in fact armed with a stolen .44 magnum revolver, a box of ammunition, and he was driving a stolen vehicle. He was also in possession of useable amounts of hashish, marijuana & cocaine.
The blood which had been observed by Ms. Hill on Loveall’s clothes that day she had encountered him on her mail delivery route, had come from a gunshot wound to Loveall’s left leg. It was later determined through blood stains in the stolen car and other related evidence, that Loveall had in all probability accidentally discharged the stolen .44 magnum handgun he had in his possession. The discharged round had entered Loveall’s left groin with the bullet subsequently traveling down his left thigh with fragments coming to rest by his left knee.
Officer Chamberlain began his approach to the River Road “accident” scene from a southerly direction, and Officers Payne and Mailhot from a northerly direction. Officer Chamberlain was first to arrive at the area the “accident” was purported to be, and he initially drove by Loveall’s vehicle which was obscured from his view when traveling from that southerly direction. Officer Chamberlain then met up with Officers Payne, and the two officers (Chamberlain & Payne) briefly stopped in the roadway, shrugged their shoulders and each remarked that they had not observed any accident scene from their respective approaches. They each continued on to check the area with more certainty.
Officers Payne with Officer Mailhot a short distance behind him continued driving southerly, and Officer Chamberlain did a U-turn and began to follow Officers Mailhot and Payne. Officer Payne was then heard to say over the radio that he “had the car.” Off. Mailhot then spotted Officer Payne who was now out of his police car, which he had parked precariously in the roadway at the bottom of a small blind hill.
Officer Payne then threw some keys to Off. Mailhot and told Off. Mailhot “to lock up his car”. Officer Payne then proceeded into the thickly wooded area, giving no indications of why he was going in there, and Officer Mailhot simply presumed that Officer Payne had seen something, or was chasing after someone to have acted in that manner.
Officer Mailhot exited his vehicle and gave all the keys to Officer Chamberlain who was just arriving. He did this so that Officer Chamberlain could move the police cars from their precarious positions, while he went in the woods to assist Officer Payne.
Officer Payne had a substantial head start, and was out of view as Officer Mailhot proceeded into the wooded area.
Seconds later Officer Payne was heard to be yelling both verbally and over a portable radio the words “He’s got a gun! Look out he’s got a gun!!” A volley of 7 to 8 gun shots then followed and Officer Payne was then heard to scream “I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!!” a second or two later one final gunshot rang out, and Officer Payne was heard to let out what was consistently described as a “dying scream” and the woods then fell silent.
Officers Mailhot and Chamberlain radioed the situation in, which was a cumbersome process as they were in an area that intermittently blocked their portable radio signals. Officer Chamberlain grabbed the shotgun from the trunk of his police car, and they began to carefully work their way into the woods.
They soon encountered Joseph Loveall crouched behind a tree who was proclaiming that he was “giving up!”, and “to not shoot him!”. He was told to throw down his gun, and in response Loveall threw a small canister containing cocaine into a nearby stream. As the two Officers cautiously approached they soon found that Loveall was still holding a cocked .44 magnum revolver and was in effect “lying in wait” for either of them to drop their guard, and in all probability would have shot them. He was quickly disarmed and handcuffed.
Officer Payne was soon located app. 28 feet away from Loveall in the thick brush, and despite the efforts of Officer Mailhot who began administering CPR, Officer David Payne remained unresponsive and lifeless.
Ambulance personnel and other Officers soon responded to the area and Officer Payne was transported to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he was formally pronounced dead at 4:33 p.m. on July 23, 1988.
Officer David Payne had been shot twice with a .44 caliber handgun, one shot entering his right side by the 11th rib and exiting on the left side by the 12th rib. The second shot was higher up, having entered on the left side by the 9th rib and piercing his aorta. Officer Payne had not been wearing a bullet proof vest, and it was later determined that the location of the entry wounds was such that the bullet proof vests used during that time period, would not have protected the area where these bullets had entered.
Officer Payne had carried a .357 magnum service revolver (6-shot) which was loaded with .38 caliber ammunition on this day. He had emptied his gun entirely of those six rounds during the exchange of gunfire with Loveall.
The suspect Joseph Loveall was struck by only one of Officer Payne’s bullets. It entered Loveall’s left buttock, and lodged behind his heart. As mentioned previously Loveall also sustained a wound from a .44 caliber round to his left leg, which had been apparently accidentally self inflicted, before the encounter with Officer Payne had ever begun.
Joseph Loveall was charged with Murder (to Off. David Payne) and two counts of Attempted Murder, (to Off.’s Mailhot & Chamberlain).
On June 20, 1989 the trial of Joseph Loveall began, Justice Morton A. Brody presided over the trial which was held in the Town of Wiscasset, Maine due to the extreme publicity of the case. Loveall was represented by Attorney Thomas Connolly and the strategy Loveall utilized was that of self defense. Loveall essentially claimed that Off. Payne had fired first, and that he (Loveall) had no option but to defend himself from Off. Payne, lest he be killed by Off. Payne.
On June 29, 1989 after 15 hours of deliberations the jury found Joseph Loveall guilty of the lesser charge of Manslaughter (to Off. David Payne) and guilty on the two counts of Attempted Murder (to Off.’s Mailhot & Chamberlain). Each conviction carried a maximum allowable sentence of 20 years in prison.
On July 21, 1989 Joseph Loveall was sentenced by Justice Morton A. Brody to the maximum sentence of 20 years on each conviction. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively, which in effect gave Loveall 60 years in prison to serve. His earliest possible release date was estimated to be the year 2024, at which time Loveall would be 76 years old.
Loveall filed two unsuccessful appeals of his conviction.
Loveall’s years of rampant substance abuse coupled with the bullet lodged near his heart which was never able to be removed, had caused him health problems to the point that he would never see freedom again. Joseph Loveall died of liver cancer on August 12, 1999 at the age 54 while still a prisoner at the Maine State Prison in Thomaston, Maine.
Here are some related links from the newspaper archive:
- Anchorage Daily News (July 24, 1988) – AP – Police Officer Shot and Killed in Maine
- The Lewiston Journal (July 25, 1988) – Suspect was Guilty in Florida Shooting
- The Lewiston Journal (July 26, 1988) “Deadly Mistake” Left Leone Free
- The Lewiston Journal (July 27, 1988) – 1,700 Mourn Slain Police Officer
- The Lewiston Journal (August 10, 1988) – Leone is Indicted in Officer’s Death
- The Lewiston Daily Sun (February 2, 1989) – Officer’s Slaying Still Stings
- Sun Journal (July 22, 1989) – Leone Draws 60 Years in Shoot-out that Killed Police Officer
- Sun Journal (July 22, 1989) – Payne’s Widow ‘Very Relieved’