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Man sentenced to prison for killing Northeastern student

February 13, 2015

BOSTON (AP) — A former Boston man has been sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison for the 2008 killing of a Northeastern University student from Connecticut who wasn’t his intended target.

Thirty-three-year-old Cornell Smith was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty in Superior Court in Boston to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter and unlawful firearm possession in the killing of 22-year-old Rebecca Payne of New Milford, Connecticut.

Prosecutors said Smith invaded Payne’s Boston apartment after climbing onto a second-floor balcony at 3:30 a.m. and opened fire at her. Authorities said Smith mistook Payne for another woman with whom he had fought days earlier in the same building.

Payne’s parents talked during the hearing about the pain of losing their daughter.

Smith said his pleading guilty was best for everyone.

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