Carla Marie Payne was looking forward to becoming a mother and welcoming her son into the world, family members said. She and her uncle Thomas Richard Donaldson, both of Canton, are remembered as kind and loving to the people around them.
Payne and Donaldson, along with Payne’s unborn son, were killed March 23 at their home on Old Donaldson Road in Canton. Payne’s boyfriend, Kristopher Martin Johnson, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder, one count of feticide and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He remains in custody at the Cherokee County jail without bond.
Ann Shirley, Donaldson’s sister and Payne’s aunt, described the two as being kind-hearted and never having anything bad to say about anybody. Shirley also said Payne was excited to give birth to her son in June.
“They never hurt nobody,” Shirley said of Payne and Donaldson. “They were a team.”
Virginia Stover, Payne’s sister, said her sister was kind and dearly loved those around her.
“She wanted nothing more than that little boy growing inside her,” Stover said, adding that Payne had picked out the name Mason Kristopher Payne for her son.
One of Shirley’s favorite recent memories was getting to visit her brother and spend the day with him. Although Payne was on her way out the door, and Shirley was only able to speak with her niece for a brief moment, she said she enjoyed getting to visit with Donaldson.
“He was so happy to see me. We had a good day,” Shirley said.
Similarly, Stover said one memory of her sister that stuck out was when Payne texted her at 2 a.m. on Oct. 7, sending Stover an image of a positive pregnancy test and asking what she saw in the image.
“She was so funny and so outspoken,” Stover said. “We talked every day. She adored her family.”
Both Shirley and Stover said Payne had been a hard worker at the Walmart in Canton, and her coworkers admired her for her attitude and dedication.
One of Payne’s former managers at Walmart, Joey Brooks, posted a video Friday with the hashtag #sayhernamecarlapayne to describe what she meant to him.
“Carla was a good-hearted person. She would do anything she could for people,” Brooks said in the video. “She would always go above and beyond to try and set my night up for success. She was phenomenal.”
Payne is survived by three brothers, a sister, an uncle and two aunts, according to her obituary. Donaldson is survived by two sisters and a brother.
A memorial service for Payne will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at Darby Funeral Home, 480 East Main St. in Canton. A memorial service for Donaldson will be held 1 p.m. Sunday, also at Darby Funeral Home.