In August, Craft pleaded guilty to murder with a gun specification and was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.
Payne’s case was continued several times at pre-trial hearings before a September trial date was set.
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Chris Pagan, Payne’s defense attorney, said during previous hearings he was working on the case but wanted to continue the hearings after receiving correspondence from Craft.
“He (Craft) is indicating in letters to me that my client was not involved,” said Pagan, who noted Craft has exculpatory evidence in his client’s case.
On Monday, Pagan said co-counsel Melynda Cook Howard has a conflict and is not available for the four-day trial this week. The trial was rescheduled by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Pater for May 13.
Middletown police say Payne and Craft conspired to rob Stephan Cotter, 22.
Craft told police several versions of what happened, but he eventually confessed that he met with Cotter and another man with the intent to purchase marijuana and Xanax. He pulled a gun and attempted to rob Cotter, Middletown Detective Jon Hoover said at a January 2018 hearing.
A shot was fired, and Cotter was hit in the stomach and died.
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