First-degree murder charges laid in 2019 killing of Metchosin man
VANCOUVER -- Two men who escaped from a federal prison last summer have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Vancouver Island man that happened while they were out.
West Shore RCMP announced in a news release Friday that James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage have been charged in relation to the death of Martin Payne, a 60-year-old Metchosin resident who was found dead in his home in July 2019.
Busch and Armitage were reported escaped from a federal institution in the early morning hours of July 8, 2019, according to West Shore RCMP. They were arrested around 8 p.m. the following night, after an off-duty RCMP officer spotted them in Esquimalt and called 911.
Payne's body was discovered when police were sent to check on his well-being on July 12, 2019, after he failed to show up for work. When officers arrived, they found him deceased, and suspected criminality in his death.
The charges against Busch and Armitage come after an 11-month investigation led by the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, which involved officers from six other police agencies.
A statement from Payne's family included in the RCMP release thanks supporters who helped them through their loved one's death, as well as law enforcement personnel who worked on the case. The family also asks for privacy as it deals with "profound grief."
"Marty was deeply loved by his tight circle of friends and family and we have continued to mourn his senseless loss every day for the past 11 months," the family said in its statement. "The man who was taken from us was an exceptionally gentle and caring human being whose love, support, and encouragement were unfailing."