Whitehall police arrest two in connection with Oct. 20 murder
Whitehall police arrested two men, and two others have been charged in connection with the strangulation of a 38-year-old Whitehall man whose body was left outside an Eastway Court apartment building early Oct. 20.
The body of Michael Payne, 38, of Little Flower Lane, was discovered at about 4 a.m. Oct. 20 outside an apartment building at 4655 Eastway Court, near East Broad Street, by a witness who was leaving for work.
Payne’s body was not clothed, according to police. His clothes were recovered in a nearby trash receptacle, police said.
The Franklin County Coroner’s Office on Oct. 21 determined that Payne had been strangled, and Whitehall police considered the death a homicide.
Robbery appears to be a motive in the slaying as Payne’s credit cards and debit cards were taken, police said.
Payne’s girlfriend, Amy L. Lambert, 27, is charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly attempting to dispose of evidence from the crime scene, police said.
Whitehall Police Sgt. John Grebb would not confirm Lambert’s possible role in Payne’s death but said it "was common knowledge (among police)” that Lambert and Payne had a domestic relationship.
Lambert’s address of record is that of Payne’s. Lambert has a prior criminal record and was released earlier this year from prison, having served time for burglary and identity theft.
Payne was last seen leaving his apartment Thursday morning, Oct. 18. His body was found two days later.
Maxamillion J. Williams, 18, of 4069 E. Livingston Ave., Apt. 205, is charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping. He remains at large as of Oct. 24.
Police have arrested and charged Dartanian M. Hawkins, 19, of 3748 Rivercreek Bay Way, with aggravated murder and kidnapping.
On Oct. 23, police arrested Jeffrey M. Bagley, 32, of South Ohio Avenue, for tampering with evidence, a felony, in connection with the case.
Lambert, also charged with felony tampering with evidence, remains at large as of Oct. 24.
“It’s a quick-moving case,” Grebb said.
The robbery is believed to have occurred at the East Livingston Avenue apartment of Williams, but police continued to investigate to determine the particular circumstances of Payne’s death, including where it occurred.
Williams and Hawkins have prior criminal record of misdemeanors, including theft and disorderly conduct, according to court records.