The wheels of justice seemed to be rolling in the right direction surrounding the case of an accused murderer who took the law into her own hands while acting as the judge, jury and executioner of a 62-year-old Black driver in Georgia.
A grand jury piled on some more charges and renewed existing murder charges this week when it returned additional indictments against Hannah Payne. She is the 21-year-old white woman who allegedly saw Kenneth Herring get in a hit and run accident she wasn’t involved in before he apparently fled, prompting Payne to chase him for about a mile, box in his car, get out and shoot him to death in broad daylight in Clayton County.
She was already charged with murdering Herring for the shooting early last month, but “a grand jury this week indicted Payne on charges of felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during a felony,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “That means Payne will be arrested again and booked in the county jail.”
That news was likely welcomed by Herring’s wife, who had previously said that her husband during the car accident was probably having “a diabetic episode because he don’t just run off the scene.” Christine Herring said she “knew he was trying to get to the hospital.”
Payne had previously been freed on $100,000 bond — something Christine Herring said Payne shouldn’t have been granted — but after this week’s enhanced charges, it was unclear whether the young woman would have her bail revoked or set at a different amount.
Clayton County Police Detective Keon Hayward testified earlier this month that Payne called 911 during the fateful encounter on May 7 and could be heard saying to Herring, “Get out of the car, get out of the car, get out of the fucking car! I’m going to shoot you!”
After Payne shot Herring, she reportedly told the 911 operator, “He just shot himself with my gun.”
A number of emails sent to NewsOne from people who said they were Payne’s friends insisted the young driver was not racist despite the optics surrounding the case being otherwise. White supremacists paid for robocalls to Clayton County residents referring to Herring as a “negro” and urging anyone who was still listening to “Tell the District Attorney of Clayton County, Georgia, free Hannah Payne.”
While the situation was reminiscent of last year’s spate of white women trying to police Black people, it also bore similarities to the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. In that instance, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed the innocent and unarmed Black teen. That was even after 911 operators told Zimmerman, an adult, not to approach the teen.