Hannah Payne, the 25-year-old woman found guilty in the death of 62-year-old Kenneth Herring in Clayton County, will spend the rest of her life behind bars with a chance of parole.
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.
Before declaring her sentence, Scott heard from members of Herring’s family, who asked her to give Payne life in prison.
Hannah Payne murder trial testimony
Prosecutors accused Payne of playing cop in 2019 when she followed Herring after he left the scene of a crash she was not directly involved in. Payne cut him off and eventually shot him.
The defense claimed Payne acted in self-defense because after confronting Herring, she claimed he started attacking her.
Payne took the stand in her own defense during the murder trial. She said there was a state officer present at the initial crash of which she was a witness. She claimed that the officer told her and another witness at the scene outright that Herring was inebriated.
At some point, Payne said Herring started revving his engine and pulled away from the scene of the initial crash.
She testified that at the time, she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher who asked if she had been able to grab his tag number. She said when she realized she hadn’t and thought no one else did either, she got in her car.
She told the court that Terry Robinson, the man she believed to be the state officer, told her to “go,” insinuating he wanted her to follow Herring.
At one point, Payne testified that Herring’s car stopped in a turning lane. She said she exited her vehicle and approached Herring with her phone on speaker to show that she was in contact with 911. She said she told him the dispatcher asked both of them to return to the original accident site.
She then told the court that Herring grabbed her shirt and her wrist and pulled her into the vehicle and she saw her life flash before her eyes.
Additionally, she claimed Herring appeared to be reaching behind his front seats before “mashing the gas” and crashing into her car. It was at that time that she drew out her gun.