Delaware man accused of intimidating witness rejects deal


The trial for a Delaware man accused of harassing a local woman has been delayed after he rejected a plea deal he earlier had agreed to, county prosecutors said.

Gary Allen Payne, 55, of 181 Park Ave., Apt. 1, was indicted on Sept. 11 on several charges — two felony counts of violating a protection order; menacing by stalking, a fourth-degree felony; and intimidation of an attorney, victim or witness in a criminal case, a third-degree felony.

Payne pleaded not guilty to all the charges at his arraignment on Sept. 24. He was scheduled to stand trial on Thursday, Nov. 5.

On Oct. 27, Payne agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and a change-of-plea hearing was scheduled on Monday at 9:30 a.m. However, before the hearing began, Payne rejected the deal and assistant prosecuting attorney Mark Sleeper asked for a continuance of the trial because Sleeper will be unable to try the case Thursday.

A hearing on the motion to continue is scheduled for Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

Police allege that on June 1 Payne went to the Wootring Street home of a woman who had acquired a protection order against Payne. Police said this was not the first time he had violated the protection order.

Police were contacted again on June 16 when the woman said Payne had called her numerous times, disguising his number as a private number. When she stopped answering, Payne continued to call and left 17 messages on her answering machine between 3 p.m. June 15 and 6 p.m. June 16.

A warrant was later issued for Payne’s arrest and he was arrested Sept. 1.

Court documents say that, between June 17 and Sept. 1, Payne threatened her if she testified against him.


By Glenn Battishill

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