Justin Payne thought he was in the process of being hired as a New Orleans police officer. Instead, the 26-year-old man is expected to face murder charges in Chicago where he is a suspect in the death of his former boss in 2016.
Payne had passed the Civil Service exam and an initial criminal records check.
Then the NOPD recruiting investigator started checking with Payne’s previous employers he'd listed on the application, the New Orleans Advocate stated.
NOPD spokesman Beau Tidwell said the police sent a reference request to his former employer.
Payne’s name was familiar to that employer, who called the Chicago Police Department (CPD). CPD then called NOPD to inform them that Payne was a homicide suspect.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Payne worked in Chicago for Luis Pena, 64. On Dec. 30, 2016, Pena was found dead in the office trailer of his firm.
An autopsy showed Pena died from multiple blunt-force and sharp-force injuries. No arrests were made.
Once NOPD discovered that their applicant was a murder suspect, they asked Payne to come to their headquarters as part of the job application.
When Payne showed up Jan. 17, CPD officers were waiting for him, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
NOPD spokesman Tidwell said that Payne confessed to the killing. Cook County issued an arrest warrant for first-degree murder Jan. 18, court records show.
CPD confirmed the arrest but wouldn’t release additional details until Payne was returned to Chicago.
Payne was jailed without bond in New Orleans. He has an extradition hearing Jan. 22.