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Payne pleads guilty to murder accessory charge

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — A 27-year-old woman entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to being an accessory after the fact in the Nov. 12, 2007, shooting deaths of two men in Fancy Gap.

The charge is a misdemeanor.

Amanda Payne of Coulson Church Road was arrested following the shotgun deaths of George Adam Fulton, 19, and Dustin Bond, 17 — and the wounding of Bond's sister Amanda — at a trailer on Frog Spur Road.

While Clinton Eric Burke, 21, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and convicted by a jury last November, Payne initially faced two counts of first-degree murder as a principal in the second degree.

Fulton and Dustin Bond were both fatally shot in the head with a shotgun.

Prosecutors in circuit court Wednesday asked Judge Brett Geisler to amend the remaining two charges to accessory after the fact.

Being an accessory to the crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, confirmed defense attorney Dwight Compton.

A plea agreement between the prosecution and the defense set Payne's punishment at six months in jail and 24 months of supervised release.

Payne was given credit for the 14 days she has been in jail thus far.

Geisler accepted Payne's plea agreement.

According to information from Burke's trial, Payne had picked up Burke at his mother's house in Gladesboro, along with friend Randy Martin, and had driven them around to several different locations in Carroll the night of the murders.

Burke ordered Payne to drive to several locations — including Burke’s grandfather’s house, where he allegedly picked up a weapon — before heading to Fulton's residence where Fulton, Amanda Bond and Dustin Bond were all asleep.

Commonwealth's Attorney Greg Goad alleged that the confrontation happened because they planned to testify against Burke.

Prosecutors said Payne drove up the road with Martin in the car while Burke busted into the trailer and fired the gun, killing the two men and wounding Amanda Bond.

Payne returned shortly to pick up Burke, who had changed clothes in the meantime. He left the gun exposed and placed his clothing in the bag, according to testimony at his trial.

At Burke's orders, Payne then drove back to the Gladesboro area, where Burke pitched the shotgun into a pond. Then, Payne drove a small distance, where Burke burned the clothing in a field.

Police recovered the shotgun, registered in the name of Burke's grandfather, in the pond and recovered evidence from the burn pile.

At his trial, Burke received two life terms in prison for the murders, plus an additional 43 years for convictions including use of a firearm, malicious wounding and statutory burglary.