MOORHEAD, Minn. — Doctors will decide whether a Moorhead woman can be held criminal responsible for allegedly covering up the death of her roommate before her dismembered body was found in the Clay County landfill weeks later.
Andrea Catherine Payne, 26, has been ordered by a Clay County judge to participate in a mental health evaluation to determine whether she is fit to stand trial on two felony counts of accomplice after the fact. The second-degree charges allege Payne lied to police about 19-year-old Dystynee Avery, who died April 3 at her Moorhead apartment.
The evaluation will determine if Payne is not competent to proceed, or she was not responsible for covering up Avery’s death because of a mental illness or developmental disability.
Payne and two others are accused of helping 27-year-old Ethan Martin Broad hide Avery’s death, according to court documents. Broad, who lived with Payne and Avery, hit Avery over the head in the apartment, dragged her body to a garage and dismembered her before dumping her remains in a dumpster, according to court documents.
Prosecutors previously filed a motion that would allow Payne to be sentenced on the higher end of sentencing guidelines if found guilty. She could face a maximum of 20 years in prison. That motion has been put on hold pending the results of the evaluation.