280: They Walked Away — The Murder of Martin Payne

Episode 280: In the early morning hours of July 8, 2019, Vancouver Island RCMP launched a manhunt for two inmates who had escaped from William Head, a minimum security federal institution in Metchosin, south of Victoria. The two men, James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage had walked away from William Head the day before. The fugitives were arrested on July 9 after an off-duty RCMP officer spotted them in Esquimalt. On July 12, RCMP found the body of 60-year-old Martin Keith Payne, who had not shown up for work, at his home on Brookview Drive, in the community of Metchosin.

Payne’s suspicious death initiated an 11-month investigation led by the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, involving several police agencies. On June 12, 2020, an RCMP news release reported that the escapees, Busch and Armitage, had been charged with first-degree murder concerning Martin Payne’s death.

This event sparked serious debate about the decision-making process that led to these two individuals, both with histories of violent crime, being housed in a minimum-security facility. How had they simply walked away from their incarceration to murder Martin Payne?


RCMP in British Columbia – Two men arrested and charged in the 2019 Martin Payne homicide investigation


The behind-the-scenes story of how ignored warnings at William Head allowed a killer to escape

William Head Rd · Metchosin, BC

Correctional Service on Twitter

The Province 09 Jul 2019, page A13

Archive.org | CAPTURED – Prisoners who escaped from William Head Institution now in police custody

Archive.org | Suspicious Death Investigation Continues in Metchosin

Archive.org | Persons of interest identified in the murder of Martin Payne

Victim died of multiple stab wounds and blunt force injuries, murder trial hears

Woman sentenced for role in murder | CBC News

Metchosin seeks permission to use emergency alerts for prison breaks

Globe and Mail | Inmate tells B.C. court he ‘felt like dying’ while in solitary confinement

Loved ones remember joyous Metchosin man as his killer is sentenced

Family of murdered Metchosin man speaks as killer sentenced to life in prison

Paul Bernardo transfer to a medium-security prison was ‘sound’: review – National

CSC staff ‘worried the circus would begin’ before Bernardo transfer: emails – National

‘My father could have been anyone’: Daughters of murder victim speak out

July marks 4 years since inmates escaped William Head prison, murdered Metchosin man

2019 BCPC 311 (CanLII) | R. v. Armitage | CanLII

2022 BCSC 1407 (CanLII) | R. v Armitage & Busch | CanLII

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