Sale to benefit child of slain Amsterdam man

The family of slain Jose "Jochy" Payano plan to sell his possessions Saturday to raise money for his

Friends, neighbors and community members will have an opportunity to turn a tragic situation into a positive one on Saturday as Jose “Jochy” Payano’s possessions will be sold to raise money for his 5-year-old son Antonio Payano, his family said.

Payano was shot to death May 1 in front of his garage on Lark Street.

“It’s been just so shocking,” Payano’s sister, Wendy Burnette, said. “If he had lived a life style where that sort of thing was a possibility then that would be one thing, but we just can’t wrap our heads around it at all.”

Burnette said the sale will take place at Payano’s home at 8 McCleary Ave. and at his garage on Lark Street, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All the proceeds will go toward Antonio Payano’s education fund.

Payano’s immediate family lives outside of the area. Burnette, his only sibling, lives with her husband in North Carolina and his parents live in Post, Texas.

The family members were all supposed to travel to Amsterdam Tuesday to celebrate Antonio’s birthday, but arrived sooner following the death of Jose.

“We were close and talked to our parents on a daily basis,” Burnette said. “I called my parents twice a day, and my dad’s a mechanic and a pastor, so Jochy would call him I don’t know how many times a day.”

Payano’s family members plan to depart for their homes next week, and before they leave want to do what they can to provide for Antonio.

“We feel as his family we have to leave a legacy in [Jose’s] name for his son, so we are trying to sell all his property and turn that into an education fund for Antonio,” Burnette said.

Antonio lives with his mother in Saratoga Springs, but spent as much time with Payano as with his mother, Burnette said. She said Antonio has been preoccupied with his birthday, but was upset that his father wasn’t at his birthday party for the first time.

“How do you explain to a 5-year-old what happened, but in such a way that it won’t traumatize him even more?” Burnette said.

The two men charged in connection with Payano’s death, Josue Santos-Rivera, 22, and Gilbert Muniz, 27, were in court this week for a preliminary hearing. A hearing date was set for Santos-Rivera for May 21 and for Muniz on June 3.

Santos-Rivera, of Charles Lane, Apt. S-8, has been charged with second-degree murder. Muniz, of 24 Jay St., was charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Police say an argument over a woman is believed to have led to the shooting. The woman had a child with Muniz, and Muniz and Payano were arguing on May 1 before Santos-Rivera became involved, police say. They charged Santos-Rivera with shooting Payano.

Burnette said the community’s support has carried the family through this difficult time. She said even local businesses have been supportive, including the Stewart’s Shop on East Main Street, which gave free goods to people on their way to Payano’s funeral Monday at the Calvary Assembly of God, and the Armory Grill, which allowed the family to gather there after the funeral. Payano was buried next to his grandmother in Fairview Cemetery.

“Everywhere we turned we had support,” Burnette said. “We feel truly embraced.”

Burnette said the she hopes the community’s support continues through the legal trials of the two men accused in Payano’s death.

“We don’t want Jochy’s death to be in vain and for him to be forgotten because we won’t forget,” she said.

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