Asst. DA claims rape suspect tried to hit her with his car

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A man on trial for rape is now accused of trying to run down the prosecutor with his car.

Judge Kenneth Case heard testimony from two assistant district attorneys Tuesday morning, one of whom said she was almost hit and run over by 48-year-old William Payne around 7 p.m. on Monday.

Assistant District Attorneys Kristi Ahlstrom claims she was crossing Delaware Avenue at West Eagle Monday night after the first day of jury selection in Payne’s trial when she saw a black sedan stopped at a green light. She said she was unsure if the sedan was going to turn. In a statement read by ADA Roseanne Johnson, Ahlstrom said she took two steps into the street when the car started moving into the intersection. She took one more step and says the car started coming straight towards her.

Ahlstrom says the car came within feet of her and hit hit a puddle, causing water to splash up to her hip. She says she recognized the driver as Payne.

Johnson argued that this was an obvious attempt to menace and intimidate the assistant prosecutor and cannot be tolerated. As a result, in a hearing, the judge revoked Payne’s $25,000 bail.

Judge Case also declared a mistrial in Payne’s rape case after Payne’s attorney Joseph Agro argued a mistrial was required because he was not aware of what had allegedly took place Monday night.

“There’s a ton of legal issues that could potentially surface during the course of a trial given what’s been put on the record here today,” Argo said. “I think this was kind of a curve ball for everybody involved here. Everybody. Sometimes it takes a little time to get everything right but I think it was the right thing to do today.”

Argo told the judge he would not be ready to proceed in jury selection or trial of the rape case because of this new alleged incident.

District Attorney Frank Sedita says he expects to gather up all the surveillance video he can find of the incident Monday night to see if it matches what his Assistant claims, and then Sedita will decide whether to press charges and what new charges to lay.

Three jurors had already been picked for Payne’s rape trial. But with a mistrial declared, a new trial with new jurors will begin August 11.

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