Parents of slain NU student meet alleged killer
BOSTON, Mass. (WHDH) -- For the first time, parents Nicholas and Virginia Payne come face to face with the man accused of killing their daughter Rebecca Payne, four years ago.
“You know there's that knot in your stomach knowing that looking at that face, without that face, she would be here with us,” Virginia Payne said.
Cornell Smith, 30, was charged with the 2008 murder and is currently serving a federal prison sentence for a drug conviction.
Prosecutors said Smith shot and killed the 22-year-old Northeastern University student inside her Mission Hill apartment in a case of mistaken identity.
Investigators said Payne was an innocent victim.
“He entered the apartment through the balcony which was accessible and fired multiple shots.”
The victim’s father, Nicholas Payne, said, “We know that our daughter spent her last moments looking at him and having no clue what this idiot was doing in her apartment.”
It took investigators until this past April to announce an arrest.
Smith is currently serving a federal prison sentence out of state on unrelated charges.
Until Monday, the Paynes had only seen him in pictures.
“You see how he kinda just strolled in. We look at him and say that's evil and stupidity mixed together,” Nicholas Payne said.
Now they cling to the cards, photos and memories they have left of their daughter.
“I just think of him as a man that took all of her tomorrows and the crusher of dreams.”
A second person was arrested and arraigned last month. He has been accused of being the getaway driver. Prosecutors said that he lied during the grand jury.
After this trial is over Rebecca’s parents said, “It’s just too painful to be here." They will move to Rebecca’s mother’s native country in Africa.