A Georgia woman accused of fatally shooting a man after a minor hit-and-run crash, which she was not a party to, ignored 911 dispatchers who told her to remain at the scene of the initial fender bender, a detective testified Tuesday.
Hannah Renea Payne, 21, of Fayetteville, cried when a Clayton County judge ruled there was enough evidence to send her to trial, WSB-TV in Atlanta reported. Payne is charged with felony murder in the May 7 death of Kenneth Herring, 62.
Clayton County police officials said earlier this month that Payne took it upon herself to follow Herring after she allegedly saw him strike another vehicle near Clark Howell Highway and Ga. 85. Herring was fatally shot in the abdomen about a mile away after Payne confronted him about the crash.
Keon Hayward, a detective with the Clayton County Police Department, testified Tuesday that Payne, who was on the phone with dispatchers, blocked Herring’s truck in near the intersection of Riverdale Road and Forest Parkway.
“In the background, you can hear, ‘Get out of the car,’” Hayward said, according to WSB-TV.
A witness to the shooting told the news station he saw Payne attack Herring, punching him through his truck window and trying to pull him from the vehicle. A few moments later, the witness said he heard a gunshot.
The man also shot cellphone video of Payne changing her clothing after she killed Herring, the news station reported.
Watch WSB-TV’s report on the preliminary hearing below.
Clayton County prosecutors argued Tuesday that Payne behaved like a law enforcement officer that day instead of as a witness to a relatively minor crash, which caused little damage to either vehicle involved.
“She’s using deadly force when she wasn’t faced with deadly force,” Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said, according to WSB-TV.
Payne’s lawyer, Matt Tucker, has previously said his client was acting in self-defense and that her gun, which she was licensed to carry, was fired during a struggle. Tucker said Payne’s shirt was torn in the altercation and she had scratch marks on her body, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Watch Clayton County police officials discuss Payne’s arrest in the May 7 shooting below.
Hayward testified Tuesday, however, that no witnesses saw Herring attack Payne. Prosecutors argued that she, not Herring, was the aggressor in the incident.
Tucker also said previously that Payne’s Jeep was also struck in the hit-and-run crash, but police officials said Herring’s truck never collided with Payne’s vehicle, the Journal-Constitution reported.
Herring’s wife, Christine Herring, told WSB-TV she believes she knows why Payne wept in court.
“She probably don’t want to go to jail,” Herring told the news station. “I wouldn’t want to go to prison for murder, either. I probably would be crying also.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.