Man held on perjury charges in NU student's '08 death
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Two people are being charged in connection with the death of a Northeastern University student in 2008. One of the suspects appeared in court on Monday.
Michael Balba, 55, was arraigned Monday. He is accused of lying to police repeatedly during the investigation into Rebecca Payne’s death.
“I think he is equally guilty since he was there and he could easily have told the police what he knew,” said Virginia Payne, Rebecca’s mother, after Balba’s arraignment.
Prosecutors said Balba knew the alleged shooter, 30-year-old Cornell Smith, as “Jeff” and drove him to Mission Hill the night of the May 2008 shooting.
“Mr. Balba was given some crack and told to go to the park across the street to smoke it,” said assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum.
Balba initially admitted knowing Smith and admitted driving places, but denied driving to the crime scene, according to Prosecutors.
The DA says he got evidence that Balba heard the gunshots, as many did. A source told 7News Rebecca Payne was shot six times, including once in each knew.
Smith allegedly mistook Rebecca Payne for someone else.
“There is another individual who was present at the crime scene,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley. “We’re not going to identify him today. We’ll speak more clearly about him when Cornell Smith is arraigned.”
The Payne’s are determined to follow each twist and turn in the case.
“We cannot let this go,” said Nicholas Payne, Rebecca Payne’s father.
The family plans to open a tennis academy in Rebecca Payne’s memory in the Seychelles Islands, where Virginia Payne grew up.
“When this is over it’s too painful to live here,” said Virginia Payne. “Give up everything we work here to start all over.”
Balba is being held on $1 million bond, $100,000 cash. If he makes bail, he will be required to wear a GPS bracelet. His next court date is June 6.