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Man Charged In 2008 Shooting Death Of Northeastern Student

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BOSTON (CBS) – A former Boston man has been charged with first-degree murder for the 2008 shooting death of a Northeastern University student.

Cornell Smith, who is already serving time in prison, was indicted for the murder of Rebecca Payne, a student from New Milford, Connecticut. She was shot to death inside her Parker Hill Avenue apartment in Mission Hill.

smith cornell booking Man Charged In 2008 Shooting Death Of Northeastern Student

Cornell Smith has been charged with the murder of Rebecca Payne in Mission Hill.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said Payne was a victim of mistaken identity. He says she was, “in every sense, an innocent victim.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

Investigators say Payne had been shot multiple times. Police say neighbors had heard gunfire but never called 911 when the shooting happened.

Another man, 55-year-old Michael Balba of Billerica, was charged with four counts of perjury for allegedly lying to the Suffolk County Grand Jury during the investigation. He was arrested Saturday and will be arraigned Monday.

balba Man Charged In 2008 Shooting Death Of Northeastern Student

Michael Balba is charged with four counts of perjury.

Conley thanked police for their work which led to the indictments. “Not a day went by that they didn’t think, act, or pick up the phone on this case,” says Conley. “I hope Rebecca’s family, her friends, and the Northeastern Community find some comfort knowing that we were always committed to reaching this point.”

Smith is currently serving a 12-year federal prison sentence out of state for an unrelated drug conviction. No date has been set for his return to Boston to face the new charges.

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