Army veteran who caused stir in NY town appears in court

Timothy Payne, a double-amputee Army veteran, works on his discus throwing form with a coach during a 2015 Army Trials training session at Fort Bliss, Texas, March 24, 2015.


By NIAGARA GAZETTE, NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. Published: June 29, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — A military veteran from North Carolina who is facing a weapon charge in connection with an incident at North Tonawanda City Hall earlier this week waived his right to a felony hearing during a court appearance on Friday.

Timothy Payne, a Western New York native who joined the military after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, was remanded to the custody of the Niagara County Jail with a bail set at $75,000.

City Court Judge Shawn Nickerson, who presided over Payne's court appearance, ruled that Payne will be transferred to a local U.S. Veterans Administration facility for treatment once a bed becomes available.

Payne, a U.S. Army veteran who lost both of his legs following an explosion while he was on tour in Afghanistan, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after police investigated the contents of his van, which was parked at North Tonawanda City Hall on Tuesday. Police found firearms inside Payne's van and initially suspected a possible explosive device inside. Upon further investigation, police later determined that the device in question was not explosive in nature.

While exiting the courtroom on Friday, Payne paused briefly to speak with reporters who had gathered outside, telling them that he returned to Western New York after discovering an embezzlement scheme in North Carolina and that he did so because he was in fear for his life and his liberty.

Payne's attorneys, John G. Schmidt Jr. and Robert Singer, noted following their client's court appearance that he is a war hero who appears to have made a mistake and who is in need of treatment.

The newspaper will provide additional details in Saturday's edition.


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