Trials & Litigation

Rape defendant wins mistrial after prosecutor's claim that he tried to run her down is disproven


William Payne was jailed without bail for seven days after a prosecutor claimed he nearly ran her down while driving outside the Buffalo, N.Y., courthouse in which a jury was being selected for his rape trial.

But the 48-year-old defendant has never had a driver’s license or owned a car, and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority security camera footage shows he was taking a train and a bus home at the time of the alleged incident last week, his lawyer, Joseph A. Agro, tells WIVB.

The Buffalo News also has a story about the claimed near-miss, which resulted in Payne’s bail of $25,000 being revoked and a mistrial in the Erie County rape case.

Judge Kenneth F. Case reinstated Payne’s bail after seeing NFTA security photos during a Monday hearing, calling the prosecutor’s accusation against Payne a matter of mistaken identity.

A mistrial was declared, the newspaper says, because prospective jurors overheard courthouse talk about a traffic incident involving the prosecutor.

Payne’s trial is now scheduled for August. He is charged with third-degree rape and third-degree incest.

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