MOUNTAIN CITY — The two men charged in the murders of Billy Clay Payne Jr., 36, and his girlfriend Billie Jean Hayworth, 23, made their first appearance in Criminal Court on Tuesday morning.
Marvin E. “Buddy” Potter and Jamie Lynn Curd each made brief appearances before Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood. The judge placed each defendant on the same schedule. They have until Nov. 9 to file pretrial motions. There is a Feb. 1 deadline on any negotiated settlement and trial is set for April 15. Both men are charged with two counts of first degree murder.
Potter was brought into the courtroom first on Tuesday. He has hired Randolph Fallin as his attorney. The proceedings went quickly and Potter was then taken from the courtroom by Johnson County deputies.
Once Potter was outside, Curd was brought in. This time, proceedings took longer because Curd has not hired a lawyer. During a preliminary hearing in Sessions Court, a public defender was appointed for Curd. Blackwood reviewed a financial statement from Curd and then declared that he was indigent and a public defender was appointed for him. The judge then set Curd on the same schedule he had already set for Potter.
Curd was then escorted out of the courtroom and taken to a waiting car for transport back to the Carter County Jail.
Sheriff Mike Reece said the separation of the two defendants was planned.
“We keep them apart,” Reece said.
The two men are charged with going to the residence of Payne and Hayworth early on the morning of Jan. 31 to avenge his daughter Janelle Potter. Investigators said Potter told them the couple had been harassing her on the Internet and had “defriended” her on Facebook.
Payne was found in his bedroom with a bullet wound to his head and his throat was cut. Hayworth was found in the nursery with a bullet wound to her head. The couple’s 6-month-old baby was found with his dead mother. The baby was not injured.