Questions swirl around murder involving Fayette woman

Hannah Payne of Fayette is charged with felony murder following a May 7 incident in Clayton County.

Good Samaritan or vigilante?

That’s one of the questions Clayton County investigators are still mulling after an investigation led to a Fayette woman being charged with felony murder.

Hannah Payne, 21, is being held in the Clayton County Jail after the May 7 incident.

Police said at approximately 6:15 p.m., the Clayton County Police Department was actively directing traffic in the area of I-285 and Riverdale Road. According to the department’s press release, officials were notified by a citizen that a male had been shot near the intersection of Riverdale Road and Forest Parkway.

“Responding officers found a male victim on the scene from a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to a local area hospital and was later pronounced dead,” the release said.

During the investigation, officers learned that a verbal altercation ensued stemming from a vehicle accident. The department’s investigations division learned that Payne had witnessed an accident near Ga. Highway 85 and Clark Howell Highway that involved the shooting victim, Kenneth Herring, 62.

Police said Payne followed Herring’s vehicle and ultimately blocked his car with her vehicle. The verbal dispute led to Payne’s firearm being discharged that ultimately killed Herring.

Major Anthony Thuman said Payne did call 911 to report the accident and was told to stay in her vehicle.

He also said that he thought Payne was trying to get Herring to return to the accident site.

“This is a unique case where we saw a citizen intervene,” Thuman said at the news conference.

In press accounts, Payne’s attorney Matt Tucker has called her a Good Samaritan. Tucker did not respond to a phone call before press time.

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