A 23-year-old former Army medic said yesterday that his mother's conviction for attempting to kill him after an argument over money left him feeling "empty."
Racheal H. Payne was found guilty in Prince George's Circuit Court late Thursday night of attempting to kill her son, Charles G. Payne, after he accused her of stealing nearly $11,000 he had sent home while stationed abroad.
The jury, which deliberated for just over an hour, also found Racheal Payne, 45, guilty of assault with intent to murder, assault and battery, felony theft and use of a handgun in commission of a crime.
She sat impassively as the verdict was read, but sobbed uncontrollably when Judge Audrey E. Melbourne denied a motion that would have given her 10 days to set her affairs in order and instead ordered her held without bond at the county detention center until her sentencing July 7. Payne faces a possible life sentence plus 35 years in prison.
Her attorney, Joseph Finlayson, said yesterday he has not decided if he will appeal. "It's a possibility," he said. "If there are grounds to appeal, I certainly will do so. I haven't had time to study the case in detail." Finlayson also said he will ask Judge Melbourne to reconsider her decision not to let Payne out on bond to straighten out her affairs.
Charles Payne, in a brief telephone interview, said that after the emotional trial, "I don't know how I feel. I feel kind of empty." At the two-day trial he had said, "I love my mother. I don't like testifying against her."
In more than two hours of sometimes contradictory testimony Thursday, Racheal Payne first testified that she shot her son accidentally Oct. 22. Later, under cross-examination from Assistant 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."
Racheal Payne said that after her son confronted her about the money, he pushed her down and threatened her. She said he then kicked her down stairs before he tripped. She said she kicked him accidentally and a handgun fell out of his waistband.
While being questioned by Finlayson, she said she grabbed the gun and it went off when she fell. But under questioning from prosecutor McManus, she said she shot her son in self-defense as he came at her with a drainage pipe.
Charles Payne had testified Wednesday that he and his mother argued, but he said he was shot after he had left her and gone downstairs.