MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed that former death row inmate Pervis Payne is eligible for parole.

In an opinion issued Wednesday, the court affirmed the January 2022 ruling from Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan that stated that Payne’s two life sentences plus 30 years will be served concurrently.

Skahan’s ruling meant that Payne would be eligible for parole after serving 39 years, which would be in 2027.

The State of Tennessee reportedly filed an appeal to the ruling, claiming that the Shelby County Criminal Court lacked the jurisdiction necessary to issue that ruling.

The Court of Criminal Appeals ultimately held that the Shelby County Criminal Court had the discretion to determine how Payne’s sentences would be served.

“After considering the arguments of the parties, the rules of statutory construction, and other applicable legal authority, we conclude that the trial court properly acted within its discretion in conducting a hearing to determine the manner of service of the Defendant’s life sentences,” the court’s opinion states.

In 1987, Payne was convicted of the stabbing deaths of 28-year-old Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter Lacie. Payne was sentenced to death, but his death sentence was vacated in November 2021.

Payne has served 35 years of his sentence.

“Mr. Payne acts like an innocent man because he is an innocent man,” Payne’s attorney Kelley Henry said in a statement. “One day is too long to serve in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. Mr. Payne has served 35 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. We will continue to pursue every avenue to clear his name and bring him home to his loving family.”