MOUNTAIN CITY — Two men were indicted of first-degree murder charges by a Johnson County grand jury on Friday in a case which has drawn global attention because the motive appears to have been a defriending on the Internet Facebook site.
Marvin Enoch “Buddy” Potter, 60, 727 Hospital Road and Jamie Lynn Curd, 38, 2358 Pleasant Valley Road, were each indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Billy Clay Payne Jr., 36, and his girlfriend, Billie Jean Hayworth, 23. The couple was found slain in their home on Jan. 31. Their 6-month-old child was found unharmed beside Hayworth.
Sheriff Mike Reece said Potter and Curd had been on the list of suspects from the start of a weeklong investigation. After conducting between 150 and 175 interviews, some people were dropped from the suspect list, but Potter and Curd remained on the list. Finally, information gleaned from the interviews led to the sheriff’s department using polygraph tests. Things soon came into focus when Curd began to cooperate after the polygraph test.
The news of the murder investigation was reported around the world when Reece reported that Potter had become angry about Payne and Hayworth’s treatment of his adult daughter, Janelle Potter, on the Internet, especially defriending her on the couple’s Facebook site. Janelle Potter has not been charged.
Potter and Curd were accused of entering the residence of Payne and Hayworth on James Davis Lane sometime after 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 and killing them. The bodies of the couple were found at 10:30 a.m. when a friend came by to collect mail they had been saving for him. The friend found Payne in the couple’s bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head. His throat had also been cut. Hayworth was found in the nursery of the couple’s 6-month-old son. She had also been shot in the head. The baby was not hurt.
Potter and Curd are scheduled to be arraigned in Criminal Court on Aug. 14. Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood will preside.