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Suspect in Tulsa's first homicide of 2021 arrested

Suspect in Tulsa's first homicide of 2021 arrested

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Payne

More than 100 days after a warrant was issued for his arrest, the man prosecutors say is responsible for Tulsa’s first homicide of 2021 is behind bars.

Kent Kierston “Cowboy” Payne, 35, is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 5 killing of Donza Settles in north Tulsa.

Settles, 30, was found shot in the parking lot of the Towne Square apartments, 1616 E. Young St., just before midnight that Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly thereafter.

Surveillance footage showed Settles parking behind an SUV in the complex’s parking lot before the SUV’s driver and front-seat passenger approached him.

The SUV’s occupants later told detectives they spoke with Settles before going to an apartment in the complex while a man to whom they had given a ride, later identified as Payne, “lingered” in their car, the affidavit states.

While the two were away, they reported hearing a gunshot followed by three or four more rounds.

Tulsa police arrested Payne on Thursday afternoon.

Homicide Lt. Brandon Watkins said Payne and Settles apparently knew each other and reportedly had had multiple altercations in the past.

Surveillance video reportedly shows Settles approach the car with Payne inside while the other two men were away before a cloud of smoke is visible and Settles falls to the ground.

Three casings located near him and three bullet holes in the lower portion of the car indicate that Settles shot back after he fell, the affidavit states.

Two casings were discovered inside the SUV, from which Payne fled on foot about a minute after the shooting, according to the affidavit.

Payne has previously been convicted in Tulsa County of pointing a firearm, assault and battery on a police officer, eluding a police officer, possessing stolen property and DUI. He was discharged from his last probation in December 2019, according to online Department of Corrections records.

He is in the Tulsa County jail with bail set in excess of $1 million.

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Staff Writer

I write because I care about people, policing and peace, and I believe the most informed people make the best decisions. I joined the Tulsa World in 2019 and currently cover breaking news. Phone: 918-581-8455

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