A metro Atlanta woman who intervened in a hit-and-run accident and wound up fatally shooting a man has been granted bond for the second time, months after being indicted on new charges.
On Friday, a judge granted 22-year-old Hannah Payne a $320,000 bond after her lawyer argued she wouldn’t be a flight risk, Atlanta station WSB-TV reported.
Payne, who’s facing a felony murder charge, had previously been granted bond following her arrest for the May 7 killing of Kenneth Herring, 62. A jury indicted her on new charges in June, however, which landed her back behind bars.
Prosecutors said the Fayetteville woman assumed the role of police when she pursued Herring after he left the scene of a crash. Payne dialed 911 as she tailed the man’s truck for about a mile in the Atlanta suburb of Clayton County, eventually boxing him in with her Jeep and confronting him with a handgun.
Rather than heed the instructions of the 911 dispatcher who told her to remain at the scene of the initial crash, prosecutors said the young lady followed Herring and engaged him in a scuffle that ended with him being shot dead.
Drivers who witnessed the incident recalled seeing Payne “punching” the driver, who prosecutors said may have been suffering a medical emergency, and repeatedly ordering him out of the car. There is also witness video of Payne seemingly changing out of her bloody clothes before police arrived.
Matt Tucker, the defendant’s lawyer, tried painting his client as a “good Samaritan” who only acted in self-defense. Tucker claimed Payne, 22, was pushed to take matters into her own hands after Herring’s pickup hit her Jeep. However, police said Payne’s car wasn’t involved in the initial wreck.
Based on the evidence, prosecutors said it was clear Payne was the aggressor in the situation.
“She’s using deadly force — she wasn’t faced with deadly force,” District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson argued at a hearing earlier this year. “You cannot claim self-defense and use deadly force unless you’re not the initial aggressor — she is.”
After her initial arrest for Herring’s murder, Payne was granted $100,000 bond in late May. It was revoked the next month and she was re-arrested after a jury brought her up on new charges including malice murder, felony murder aggravated assault, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during a felony.
She turned herself in to police on June 21.
According to WSB-TV, Payne and her family cried tears of relief Friday after she was granted bond yet again. As of Monday, Clayton County Jail records indicate that she hasn’t yet bonded out.