Grand Jury Indicts Eric Payne on First-Degree Murder in Stabbing Death of Charles Hicks

Eric Payne is expected to be arraigned on a charge of first degree murder while armed on Monday in connection with the stabbing death of 53-year-old Charles Hicks at a gathering in Southeast DC last June.

Payne, 30, was arrested Wednesday.

According to court records, a warrant for his arrest was issued after police identified him as the man witnesses told police participated in the fatal fight. Those witnesses said the man’s name was “E” or “Eric.” Payne told police that some people refer to him as “E.”

According to charging documents in the case, at least two witnesses said Terrance McNeal told them that the night of the stabbing, Hicks knocked a drink out of McNeal’s hand, then attempted to search McNeal’s pockets. McNeal said “Eric” joined him in fighting Hicks and that “Eric” stabbed Hicks, one witness said. Another said McNeal said he had stabbed Hicks.

McNeal was arrested in connection with the case in August and pled innocent to a charge of second-degree murder while armed in February. He’s scheduled to stand trial in September.

A Grand Jury indicted Payne on the charge of first-degree murder while armed on June 26 and he was added as a co-defendant to McNeal’s case Thursday.

Charging documents in Payne’s case appear to rely on a witness not relied on in McNeal’s case. That witness described Hick’s death to police this way:

A witness, also advised the police that on the night of the murder it was in the parking lot in the area of 2677 Douglas Road. Among the people there were two known to W-3 as “E” and “Peanut.” According to W-3, while it, E and Peanut were ln the parking lot an older man, who was holding a beverage cup in his hand, walked up to and began talking to a woman who was also ln the parking lot. According to W-3, Peanut and E then walked up to the older man and told to leave the woman alone. According to W-3, the old man began backing away and Peanut followed him. According to W-3, Peanut then took possession of the old man’s beverage cup, prompting the old man to try and get it back from him. According to W-3, Peanut proceeded to pour out the liquid ln the cup onto the ground. According to W-3, the old man tried to get his cup back, but Peanut dropped the cup to the ground and then proceeded to push the old man, after which Peanut and the old man started fighting. W3 further recounted that durlng the fight Peanut was punching and kicking the old man, and was then joined in the fight against the decedent by E, who also proceeded to beat the old man. According to W-3, at one point in the fight E held on to the old man, whlle Peanut drew a knife and stabbed the old man more than once.

According to charging documents, Payne told police that he took part in the altercation only in an attempt to separate McNeal and Hicks. He said he did not stab Hicks or see him get stabbed.

Payne is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday, July 2 at 9 a.m. with Judge Robert Morin.

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