Charges dropped against man accused of murdering girlfriend, dumping body

Charges dropped against man accused of murdering girlfriend, dumping body

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Charges have been dropped against a man accused of murdering a Huntsville woman and dumping her body behind the Jones Valley Target store.

William Payton is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Tonya Amerson, dismembering her body, and dumping it in the Jones Valley shopping center. He was out on probation after pleading guilty to drug charges in 2014

In December, Prosecutor Joshua Ballinger said there is not enough evidence at this time to revoke probation. The judge said they would need to provide more.

The judge said this case "will rely heavily on forensic evidence," which is not back yet. Since they have no new evidence to meet the judge's request, they are dismissing the case as of Feb. 17.

They said Payton is still the main focus of the investigation and they have no other suspects. It could take months to get the forensic evidence back.

Payton has a hold on him from another county. Ballinger said Payton will be transferred to that county where he will remain in custody, so he does not believe Payton will be back out on the streets.

"We have to act within the bounds of the law and within the bounds of the evidence," said Ballinger. "At this time we had no other options but to dismiss it and wait for the forensics to come back, then at that time we'll take it to the grand jury for reconsideration - at which time, new charges might be brought and then he'll be re-arrested."

News of the dropped charges stunned Susan Amerson, Tonya's mother.

"When I allow myself to think about it, today is just like Oct. 16," Susan said. "The day they walked in and told us."

While Susan is disappointed at the news, she said she understands the reasoning.

"Take as long as you need. You got one chance - do it right," she said.

Susan said forensic evidence will answer her questions in due course. Until then, only two people know the truth.

"God knows and Will knows," she said.

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