2 charged in 2008 murder of Northeastern student

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April 30, 2012, 6:23 am
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(NECN: Justin Michaels, Boston) - Two men are facing charges in the 2008 murder of a Northeastern University student, and the one accused of killing the girl is already in federal prison.

It's the news that the parents of Rebecca Payne have been waiting to hear since May of 2008.

"It's an hour of relief because I always had the problem with no one being accountable for what he did you know? But now it's sort of a small relief," Rebecca's mother, Virginia, said.

The man police believe is responsible for Payne's death has been identified.

His name is Cornell Smith, and he is being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Payne.

He has also been charged with armed assault and unlawful posession of a firearm.

"Cornell smith is somebody who has been known to law enforcement. And he is presently serving a lengthy prison sentence out of state. He is in the federal prison system. He's been convicted of drug trafficking by the federal government," District Attorney Dan Conley said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Conley says another man, Michael Balba of Bellrica, has also been charged with four counts of perjury for allegedly lying to a Suffolk County Grand Jury during the investigation into Payne's death.

"Police told us how difficult this case was so you have to compliment them on the hard work they've done because there was no eyewitnesses or forensic we know of," Rebecca's father, Nicholas, said.

The DA also touched on the person Payne was, and the future she was moving towards. It was a future cut short, and a life lost too soon.

"She and Cornell Smith never crossed paths they didn't know each other prior to that occasion Rebecca payne did nothing wrong, she was no involved in any sort of criminal activity herself whatsoever. A good young woman who was  hoping for a bright, and she had a very bright future."

Tags: Northeastern University, rebecca payne, Cornell Smith, Northeastern student, Michael Bellrica, Payne, 2008 murder, headlines043012
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