ATLANTA, Ga. - A woman in Georgia is facing murder charges for reportedly trying to take the law into her own hands after a hit-and-run. Police said she went after a driver who fled an accident scene in Clayton County. Her confrontation with him ended on a tragic note.
Police said on May 7, Hannah Payne, 21, followed Kenneth Herring, 62, for about one mile after she said he tried to leave the scene of an accident. Police said Payne wanted to try to get Herring to return to the accident scene. Payne approached Herring's vehicle, cut him off and forced him to stop. Then a struggle ensued. A weapon was discharged and Herring was left with a fatal wound to his abdomen.
"I think she needs to go to jail because you committed murder. You need to go to jail," Christine Herring, the wife of the victim, told WSB.
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Maj. Anthony Thuman, of the Clayton County police, said, "Based on the facts and circumstances that came out during the investigation they warranted a murder charge." Eyewitnesses told WSB that Payne struck Herring multiple times and then changed clothes after the shooting.
Thuman said Payne called 911 before the shooting occurred. Authorities haven't given more details about that 911 call and aren't releasing the audio because of the ongoing investigation. But they say Payne is licensed to carry a weapon and approached Herring's car carrying her gun.
"We recommend that people stay in the car and let the officers responding handle the situation," said Thuman.
Payne's lawyer says she was trying to do the right thing. "It just seems like it's an unfortunate situation of a good Samaritan trying to stop a person on a hit-and-run," said attorney Matt Tucker.
Herring's wife says Payne could have taken a picture of his license plate instead of having pursued him. She said he didn't deserve to be killed in the street.
Police say their investigation is still under way.
Payne's preliminary court hearing is set for May 28.