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Disabled veteran, charged in NT gun case, allowed to return to North Carolina

A judge's gavel. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A judge on Thursday gave the go-ahead to Timothy A. Payne, a disabled Army veteran charged with bringing a van containing guns and ammunition to North Tonawanda City Hall, to temporarily leave the area to tend to his home in North Carolina.

Felony weapons possession charges remain pending against Payne, 36, stemming from the June 25 incident, originally reported as a bomb threat. Thursday, Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon refused defense attorney Michael Zosh’s request to dismiss the charges.

After a period in a Veterans Administration mental health unit, Payne, a double amputee, lived with family in Erie County.

A psychiatric examination by two court-appointed doctors, which Sheldon ordered Aug. 1, concluded Payne is mentally fit to stand trial, although one doctor reported that Payne expressed “some thoughts that did not appear to be based in reality.”

Sheldon ordered Payne to return to court Nov. 14. Payne promised he would do so.

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“I’m always a team player,” Payne said in a brief interview.

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© 2019 The Buffalo News