20 March 2019 :
A Tuscaloosa County jury sentenced Michael Belcher to death. Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Brad Almond will consider the recommendation when deciding the final sentence on April 3. Belcher, 34, White, was 1 of a group of 5 people accused in the Nov. 2, 2015 death of Samantha Payne, who was beaten for several hours and left to die, naked and tied to a tree, in the Talladega National Forest. Prosecutors called him the ringleader of the group. His attorneys said he was just as culpable, or less so, than the others and deserves a similar prison sentence.