Clayton County

Testimony gives new details about night 21-year-old killed man after hit-and-run

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — The young woman accused of murdering a man after a minor hit-and-run crash cried as a judge said he heard enough evidence to move forward with her case.

Prosecutors say the defendant, Hannah Payne, 21, acted like a police officer when she chased down 62-year-old Kenneth Herring after he hit a semi truck and left the scene on May 7.

A detective testified Payne followed Herring to Riverdale Road and Forest Parkway and blocked him in while on the phone with 911. He said she ignored 911 dispatchers who told her to remain at the initial scene.

"In the background you can hear, 'get out of the car'," Detective Keon Hayward with the Clayton County Police Department said.

A witness said he saw Payne attack Herring.

"She was in the window punching him and trying to grab him and pull him out the car," the witness said.

Then he heard a shot.

Police said Payne shot and killed Herring.


The witness shot video of Payne changing clothes after the shooting.

Herring's wife told Channel 2 she thinks she knows why Payne cried.

"She probably don't want to go to prison. I wouldn't want to go to prison for murder either. I probably would be crying also," Christine Herring said.

Payne's attorney said Herring was the aggressor that day, punching and ripping Payne's shirt. He questioned if Payne punched Herring.

Prosecutors said Payne was the aggressor, and this wasn't self defense.

"She's using deadly force  she wasn't faced with deadly force," District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said.

Herring's wife was happy the judge found probable cause to move the case forward.

"I believe she's going to be found guilty because everything points to her," she said.

The detective testified no witness saw Herring attacking Payne.

She is being held without bond and will have a bond hearing Friday and possibly could get a chance to get out.

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