A Georgia woman accused of shooting and killing a man after he left the scene of an accident last month is back in jail and facing new murder charges.
Last Thursday, a jury handed up new indictments against Hannah Payne, 22, in the shooting death of Kenneth Herring, WSB-TV reported. Payne is now charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment in connection to the May 7 incident.
Prosecutors said Payne took on the role of police when she chased down Herring, 62, and killed him after he fled the scene of a minor car accident in the Atlanta suburb of Clayton County. Payne was not involved in the wreck.
Ignoring a 911 dispatcher’s instructions to remain at the scene, the young woman instead followed Herring, blocked him with her Jeep and shot him during a confrontation.
Payne, who initially faced a charge of murder without malice, was released on $100,000 bond earlier this month but was re-arrested Friday on the new charges.”
“She’s truly upset,” Payne’s lawyer, Matt Tucker, told WSB-TV.
Tucker has maintained his client acted in self defense, and painted her as a “good Samaritan” who was simply trying to do the right thing.
“She didn’t go out there trying to kill the person,” he added.
Herring’s widow, Christine Herring, rejoiced at the news of Payne’s recent arrest, saying jail is where the young woman belongs. This time, she said she hopes the judge sets a stiff bond “where [Payne] cannot afford to get out. The numbers should be high as ever.”
Drivers who witnessed the fatal incident recalled seeing Payne “punching” Herring, who may have been suffering a medical emergency, and shouting at him to “get out of the f—–g car!” A scuffle ensued, and ended with Herring, 62, being shot.
Family and friends of the embattled young woman have rallied on her behalf and dismissed the notion that Payne’s actions were the result of racial animus. After a hearing last month, Payne’s mother, Margaret Payne, described her daughter, as the “sweetest, most caring” person who “doesn’t see color” or race.
“We’re sorry for what happened, in regards to Mr. Herring,” Margaret Herring told 11Alive. “But … Hannah isn’t the person they’re saying she is.”
“This was an unfortunate situation that turned the way it did, but not at the hands of my daughter,” she added. “It wasn’t her fault.”
On Friday, Tucker told WSB-TV he plans to ask for an own-recognizance bond on the condition that Payne promises to show up to court. He’ll also ask a judge to schedule a bond hearing soon.
“I think they’re not going to give that to me,” the lawyer admitted. “I think there’s going to be some additional funds.”
Tucker said he also plans to request that his client’s case be moved to another county because of the widespread attention it has received.
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