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Parents Of Murdered Northeastern Student Face Her Accused Killer

BOSTON (CBS) - The convicted felon accused of murdering a Northeastern University student in a case of mistaken identity was ordered held without bail Monday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports


Thirty-year-old Cornell Smith was transferred to from a prison in Wisconsin for his arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on first-degree murder and other charges.  He pleaded not guilty.

Rebecca Payne
Rebecca Payne.

He's currently serving a 12-and-a-half year federal sentence for a 2010 conviction for cocaine trafficking.

Prosecutors say Smith shot and killed Rebecca Payne in her Mission Hill apartment on May 20, 2008, thinking she was someone else.

Smith was indicted back in April, but the arraignment was delayed because of his prison sentence.

Under an agreement between the Suffolk County Ditrict Attorney and federal prison authorities, Smith will stay in Massachusetts while he waits for his trial for Payne's murder.

"To me, it's the best Father's Day present," Rebecca's mother Virginia told reporters at court Monday, calling Smith a "parasite."

Nicholas Payne was asked what it was like to see the man accused of killing his daughter.

"We look at him and say 'that's evil and stupidity mixed together' and we wish we didn't have to see him, but we know we have to."

"It doesn't allow us to move forward. We just want the process to move forward," Payne said.

"In the end, nothing changes for us really. She's still gone. We'll never see her again."


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