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Murder charges for ‘vigilante’ accused of fatally shooting hit-and-run suspect during so-called citizen’s arrest

A Georgia judge ruled Tuesday that there’s probable cause for prosecutors to pursue a felony murder case against a woman who allegedly followed and fatally shot a man who she believed had fled the scene of a car accident.

Hannah Payne, 21, is being tried for the May 7 slaying of Kenneth Herring, 62, in Clayton County. Payne is accused of tracking down a pickup truck involved in a fender bender, blocking him in, and confronting him while on the phone with 911, according to WAGA.

Payne was reportedly heard demanding Herring to exit his truck before the call goes silent. Moments later, Payne allegedly told the dispatcher that Herring shot himself with her gun.

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Herring ultimately succumbed to a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Meanwhile, Payne’s legal team has argued that his death occurred during a citizen’s arrest and asked the judge to dismiss the case. They also claimed the shooting occurred during a scuffle where Payne was scratched and her shirt was ripped, according to the news station.

Meanwhile, prosecutors accused Payne of committing false imprisonment. It’s also worth noting that, in Georgia, a person can make a citizens arrest “if the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape” (Georgia code 17-4-60). The circumstances of the crash that Herring was fleeing means the incident was more likely a misdemeanor offense.

The judge’s decision means that a murder trial will proceed.

A bond hearing for Payne is scheduled for Friday. NewsOne reported that she has been incarcerated since the May 7 shooting.

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[Featured image: Hannah Payne/Police handout; Kenneth Herring/WSB-TV video screengrab]