A Clayton County judge sentenced Hannah Payne to serve life in prison with the possibility of parole for the charge of malice murder in the 2019 shooting death of Kenneth Herring.
She will also serve eight consecutive years behind bars for the count of false imprisonment and another five years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
A Clayton County jury deliberated for roughly 90 minutes before determining Payne unlawfully pursued, attacked, and murdered Kenneth following a minor traffic accident on May 7, 2019.
Payne and a semi-truck had a green light when Kenneth Herring breezed through a red light in his Dodge Dakota pickup truck and caused a minor crash with the semi-truck.
Hannah was not involved in the crash, but she pulled over to call 911.
Kenneth was at the scene for roughly 15 to 20 minutes before he got back into his pickup truck and drove off.
Against the advice of the 911 operator, Hannah Payne jumped in her jeep to pursue Kenneth Herring, who she assumed was drunk.
She boldly told the 911 dispatcher, “He is drunk. I’m not! I’m sorry, but I’m here to tell you I’m not not going to follow him because he is going to cause an accident.”
Hannah caught up to Kenneth at an intersection, cut him off with her car, and confronted him.
The prosecution said Hannah Payne “very aggressively” ran up to Kenneth Herring’s car, cursed at him, started punching the man through his window, took out her gun, threatened to shoot him twice, and then followed through on her threat.
During her sentencing hearing on Friday, members of Kenneth’s family shared how Hannah Payne’s senseless actions have forever changed their lives.
“No more Christmas, no more birthdays, no more family gatherings, his grandchildren won’t know him,” said Vickie Lynn Herring, his sister.
His other sister, Jacquelyn Karell Herring, said that she wishes Payne got a sentence heavier than jail time.
“I’ll never see my brother again only through pictures. The same sentence that she gave him I will like to see the same sentence given to her,” said Jacquelyn Karell Herring.
Herring’s brother, Keith, recalled when deputies came to his home as they notified next of kin.
“My life from that point has never been the same,” said Keith Herring.
While I am happy Hannah Payne received a life sentence – I’m not too fond of the fact that she was given the possibility of parole.
It feels like a backdoor for her to slide out of prison on good behavior.
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