Woman found guilty of chasing down, killing hit-and-run driver sentenced to life in prison

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A woman found guilty of murder in the death of a hit-and-run driver in May 2019 learned her fate on Friday.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones was in the courtroom Tuesday night when a jury returned a guilty verdict against Payne in the deadly shooting of Kenneth Herring.

On Friday, a judge sentenced Payne to life in prison with the possibility of parole on the malice murder charge plus 13 years consecutively on the false imprisonment and possession of a firearm charges. The other charges were merged into those counts.

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The murdered 62-year-old grandfather’s family asked the judge to make sure Payne never walks the streets again.

“His life was taken. He didn’t die of natural causes,” Kenneth Herring’s sister Vickie Herring said.

“Whatever the court gives her, which should be life without parole, she deserves more,” his brother Keith Herring said.

Payne’s friends told the judge she has a good heart and deserves a second chance.

“I pray that you will show mercy for her,” Melissa Morris said.


Prosecutors say Herring hit another car and drove off. Payne then followed Herring, confronted him, and shot him, according to prosecutors. They say she ignored repeated orders from a 911 operator not to pursue him.

Defense attorneys say she was told to get his license plate number, so she followed him. They argued that he shot himself during a struggle with the gun.

The jury found Payne guilty on all counts of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

“When I heard the first verdict tears started rolling down my face because at that moment I felt relief,” said Herring’s sister, Jacqueline Herring.

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After court, Clayton County District Attorney Tasha Mosley said that Herring and Payne’s families have both received death threats.

“I think people are under the misconception that it was race. We never ever brought race into this matter,” Mosley told Jones.

She asked those making threats to back off of the families since they did not do anything wrong.

“Hannah was the one who did something wrong that day. Hannah is now paying the price,” she said.

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