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A Minnesota woman will likely serve no prison time after admitting she lied and failed to contact police when a man allegedly told her he’d killed and dismembered her teenage roommate last year.
Andrea Payne, 27, came home from work the evening of Apr. 3, 2020, to the sounds of her roommate, 19-year-old Dystynee Avery, arguing with her boyfriend, 28-year-old Ethan Broad. Payne was sitting on the couch when she allegedly heard several loud thumps come from the bedroom, according to a probable cause affidavit uploaded by the Minnesota State Court Administrator’s Office.
Broad came out and allegedly told Payne that he’d beaten Avery over the head with a lead pipe and “cracked her skull open,” Payne later told investigators, according to the affidavit. She then left the apartment; when she came back several hours later with a friend, David Erno, Broad allegedly had blood on his face and told them that he’d killed Avery.
Friends and family soon began reporting Avery missing. Payne told police she thought Avery might have hitchhiked to Colorado or Texas, according to the affidavit.
After a few days, however, Broad allegedly admitted to police that he’d beaten Avery with a pipe, slit her throat, dismembered her with carpentry tools, and put her body parts in several trash bags that he threw in different dumpsters. When police then called Payne in for questioning, she allegedly admitted to her involvement in the case.
Broad, Payne, Erno and another alleged accomplice, Brandon Erbstoesser, were all arrested.
Payne was charged with being an accomplice to a crime and being an accomplice to second-degree murder, to which she initially pled not guilty, according to online court records. However, she unexpectedly changed her plea to guilty at a March 22 hearing, local newspaper The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported.
Avery’s mother and sister, both of whom knew Payne well, gave heartbreaking victim impact statements at her sentencing on Monday.
“I trusted you, had faith in you, and wholeheartedly believed in you, just to find out you were involved the whole time,” Avery’s mother, Doreen Avery, said through tears, according to KVLY-TV.
“My sister told me on many occasions that I didn’t need to worry about her or her safety because you wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. You let more than bad happen to her,” Avery’s sister, Chloey Avery, said, according to the station.
Payne, meanwhile, tearfully expressed regret for what she’d done.
“I feel horrible. I wish I could go back and change that day and my actions,” she said.
Payne was sentenced to five years probation and three years in prison. The prison time will likely be waived unless she violates the terms of her probation, KSTP-TV reports.
Broad, Erno, and Erbstoesser are all still awaiting sentencing.
Broad pleaded guilty to murder in January, but has since asked a judge if he can change that plea, the Forum reports. Erno has pled guilty to being an accomplice to murder and is set to be sentenced May 10, while Erbsoesser has yet to enter a plea on the same charge.
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