Charity Payne is done “doing time” for her role in a triple homicide.
Monday brought a surprising twist in the Lakeville triple murders of 2000.
Charity Payne was released from custody after serving less than seven years ending a roller coaster ride through the judicial system.
At one point in 2001, Payne had been convicted of felony murder and sentenced to 165-years.
Her sentence and convictions were overturned last year by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
On Monday, Payne returned to court and entered a plea agreement. She admitted her guilt to a single count of burglary and received a sentence of time served.
The development was called “devastating,” by Mischell Browning who is the daughter of murder victim Wayne Shumaker.
"Without Charity, this would not have happened, she is the reason this happened," says Shumaker.
While Payne didn’t shoot anyone, she did help plan a burglary at the upscale home of her ex-boyfriend where three construction workers who happened to be at the home at the time, were shot.
"She basically set the whole thing up. She told them how to get into the house, where the house was, things that the Sears had, she dated their son." said Sheila Gibson, the step daughter of Shumaker.
Gibson also said, “Everybody knows she’s guilty. Her family knows she’s guilty. Everybody who was in the courtroom knows she’s guilty, and the community needs to know she’s guilty. She got off not because she was innocent, she got off because somebody messed up somewhere.”
A statement Payne had given police shortly after the crimes was thrown out by the Indiana Court of Appeals because of a mistake made by police.
Officers waited until seven hours into the questioning before they advised Payne of her rights.
By the time Payne returned to court today in shackles, it was arguably the prosecution that was handcuffed.
"All the evidence that supported the murder convictions has been thrown out by the Indiana court of appeals and the Indiana supreme court,” said St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak who offered the plea agreement on the burglary charge.
“At least we were able to get out of this a conviction for a felony,” Dvorak said.
Dvorak said that the family was “emotionally devastated,” and while they intellectually understand the Court of Appeals, Supreme Court decision, “they’re not happy with the result.”