Suspect Linked To Payton Benson Murder Writes Letter To Judge

It's a memory Tabatha Manning hold's onto; her five year-old daughter Payton Benson packing a pretend school bag, ready to be a student.

"It's really kind of sad that I registered all three of the boys, and I didn't get an opportunity to register her," said Tabatha Manning, Payton's mother.

Payton was killed by a stray bullet while she ate breakfast in her home on January 15th.

"The forgiveness is definitely hard to work through, still wake up crying at night, still wake up having flashbacks to the day it happened," said Manning.

Just a day after the fatal shooting, Omaha police began arresting suspects. One of those suspect's was Kevin Peak. He was charged with possession of a gun by a prohibited person.

WOWT 6 News learned Peak wrote a letter to the judge, part of it reads, "these past few months in jail have not only reshaped me in a positive way as a man, it has also made me realize how much I need to rethink my actions."

Manning read the letter for the first time and the smile on her face said it all.

"That is actually the very first step to healing on a positive level. which is actually really good," said Manning.

Manning said she didn't mind that Peak has only spent a few months in jail and asking the judge to return to the adult world.

"We all grow at different rates, I am not one to judge if he actually has changed," said Manning.

Manning said she is growing too, and right now that means getting her three sons ready for school, even if it has to be without little Payton.

Peak is a convicted felon, which explains why he can't legally have a gun. If convicted, Peak faces anywhere from 3 to 50 years.

Investigators have said Peak met up with the other four who were in the stolen Jeep after the shooting.

Vincent Hicks, Jaylen Montgomery, Adonus Moses and Jacob Brown all face charges related to the murder and shooting.

Police say the 20-year-old Hicks fired the bullet that killed Benson.

Investigators allege they were driving in rival gang territory -- looking for someone to fire on and shot at an unknown individual. The bullet went into the house that Payton was in.


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