Because of an editing error, a Metro article yesterday about a woman accused of shooting her son included an incorrect description of her explanation of where the gun had been hidden. Racheal H. Payne testified Thursday in Prince George's Circuit Court that the gun she used fell out of her son's waistband during a scuffle.
A Prince George's County jury deliberated an hour last night before finding Racheal H. Payne guilty of attempting to kill her son, former Army medic Charles G. Payne, after he accused her of stealing nearly $11,000 he had sent home while stationed in West Germany.
Payne, 45, a former caterer from Seat Pleasant, sat impassively as the jury's verdict was read. She also was found guilty of assault with intent to murder, assault and battery, felony theft and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime.
Prince George's Circuit Court Judge Audrey E. Melbourne, who ordered Payne held without bond at the county detention center in Upper Marlboro, set sentencing for July 7.
Payne, who took the stand in her defense yesterday, first testified that she shot her 23-year-old son accidentally.
Later, under cross-examination by Assistant Prince George's County State's Attorney Thomas A. McManus, she said, "I guess I did intend to pull the trigger. I had to, to stop him. He was coming after me."
Mother and son sat a few feet apart, but did not look at each other. Racheal Payne testified that "he's my firstborn. I love him dearly." On Wednesday, Charles Payne testified that "I love my mother. I don't like testifying against her."
In more than two hours of sometimes contradictory testimony yesterday, Racheal Payne said that after her son confronted her about money missing from his bank account last Oct. 22, he pushed her down and threatened her.
"I had never seen him that enraged before, and it frightened me," she said. "It was like his eyes were dancing, he was so enraged."
Payne said her son then kicked her down a staircase leading to the basement of the family home in Seat Pleasant before he tripped and fell on top of her. She said she kicked him accidentally and a handgun fell out of the waistband of her trousers.
Under questioning by defense attorney Joseph Finlayson, she said she then grabbed the gun and ran around the room because her son was chasing her, first with a scythe and later with a five-foot drainage pipe. Charles Payne hit her with the pipe, she told Finlayson, and "I tripped and fell and the gun went off."
Later, under questioning from prosecutor McManus, she said her son did not hit her with the pipe, and that the gun did not go off accidentally, but that she shot him in self-defense as he came at her with the pipe.
Charles Payne was wounded in the back of the neck. The bullet is still lodged under the right side of his jaw.
Earlier, Racheal Payne testified that while her son was stationed in West Germany, he authorized her to withdraw money from his account at Suburban Bank to give to his father, George Chester, who lives in Georgia and had been estranged from Racheal Payne for a number of years. He and Charles Payne planned to buy land in Georgia, Racheal Payne said.
Charles Payne and Chester both testified later that no such deal had been made between them. "That's an outright lie," Chester said of Racheal Payne's statements. "I never went to the bank with her to get money. I never even met with Racheal at all while Charles was in Germany."