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Limestone County Sheriff: Man charged in murder of woman who was set to testify against him

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Samuel Quentin Hoback

Samuel Hoback

UPDATE: Samuel Hoback, 21, has been charged with the murder of 51-year-old Melanie Payne. He is being held in Limestone County without bond.


Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely identified the victim as 51-year-old Melanie Payne of Prospect, Tennessee. Her body will be sent to the forensics department.

Blakely said Payne’s friends discovered her dead at their home, which she was staying at. He said Hoback is accused of “shooting up” her trailer in a drive-by shooting in Giles County, Tennessee.

Right now, Hoback is charged with possession of a controlled substance and a probation revocation on a theft charge in Limestone County. Blakely said Hoback had meth, and a handgun was found in his vehicle. He said they don’t know right now if it’s the one used in the deadly shooting.

Authorities are searching Hoback’s parents' home in Prospect, Tennessee, and a vehicle there. Blakely said they believe that after he shot the victim, he went back to his parents' home and changed clothes.

According to Blakely, Payne was supposed to testify against Hoback at a bond revocation hearing on Tuesday in Giles County, Tennessee. He said she and Hoback had been acquaintances for some time, but they don’t know the full extent of their relationship.

Blakely said there is still a lot to sort out. Authorities are interviewing family members and are still working to determine a motive. They are also working to determine if Hoback will be charged with murder or capital murder. We expect to find this out on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Blakely also said it appears Hoback has quite a violent history, and they believe he acted alone in Tuesday’s shooting.


The Limestone County Sheriff's Office is holding a news conference on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the arrest of a suspect in a deadly shooting.

The shooting was reported around 4 a.m. Tuesday in the 19000 block of Cave Branch Road. Deputies found a woman dead of an apparent gunshot wound at a home.

They arrested Samuel Hoback, 21, Tuesday afternoon. The sheriff’s office said both he and the victim are from Prospect, Tennessee.

According to the department, the victim moved in with friends on Cave Branch Road “allegedly because Hoback had shot up her residence in Prospect about a week ago and she was reportedly in fear for her life.”

A spokesperson for the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office, Stephen Young, said they are working with the Giles County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee and that's where they heard about the reports from Prospect, Tennessee.

The Giles County sheriff confirmed to WAAY 31 that Hoback was released Monday afternoon from the Giles County Jail on a $6,500 bond for a burglary charge. He was also already out of jail on a separate $75,000 bond for attempted murder.

The Giles County sheriff did not confirm if either of those charges are connected to the case in Limestone County. He did say it's an ongoing investigation and they are working with the Limestone County Sheriff's Office on this case.

Stay with WAAY 31 on air and online for updates about Tuesday’s news conference.