British Columbia

2 men arrested and charged in 2019 homicide of Martin Payne

James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage, who escaped from William Head Institution on southern Vancouver Island last year, have been charged with one count each of first-degree murder.

James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage escaped from federal institution days before Payne's body discovered

James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage have been charged with one count each of first-degree murder in relation to the death of Martin Payne. (West Shore RCMP)

Two men who escaped from William Head Institution on southern Vancouver Island last year have been arrested and charged in connection to the 2019 homicide of 60-year-old Martin Payne.

James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage have been charged with one count each of first-degree murder in relation to his death.

According to a written statement from West Shore RCMP, the two men escaped from the federal institution in the early hours of July 8, 2019. They were found and arrested the next day at around 8 p.m., when they were spotted by an off-duty police officer and commented on the size of his dog.

Three days later, on July 12, West Shore RCMP visited the Metchosin residence of Payne, who hadn't shown up to work. They found him dead in his home, and the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) was called to investigate.

"Our condolences go out to Martin Payne's family and friends," Inspector Todd Preston of the West Shore RCMP wrote in the statement.

"We know that this has been a very difficult time for the community and citizens of the West Shore and in particular, Metchosin. We want to thank the citizens for their patience in the investigative process."

Payne's family also released a statement, writing that he 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 man who was taken from us was an exceptionally gentle and caring human being whose love, support, and encouragement were unfailing.

"We are completely devastated and have been relying heavily on one another throughout this horrifying ordeal."

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