42ºF

Former sergeant pleads not guilty in custody case

Catherine Payne make a first appearance in a Nassau County courtroom.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Former St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Catherine Payne pleaded not guilty Monday to amended charges of two counts of depriving custody of a minor.

Payne is still being held without bond in the Nassau County jail, and the judge has ordered a psychiatric evaluation.

Her next court appearance is Jan. 8.

Payne, 37, was arrested twice last month, each time on a charge of interfering with child custody. She was subsequently fired from the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Payne took her 6-year-old son from school Oct. 21, in violation of the court order that gave her husband, Phillip Payne, sole custody. She told school staffers the pickup order was changed, and she was allowed to pick up her son, deputies said.

Payne was arrested days later after again trying to take her son from school, deputies said.