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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
jthompson@johnsoncitypress.com
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Facebook murders case in hands of jury in Jonesborough

October 11th, 2013 12:03 pm by John Thompson

Facebook murders case in hands of jury in Jonesborough

Marvin Potter talks with attorney in trial earlier this week (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)

A Washington County jury began deliberations about 1:20 p.m. today in the first-degree murder charges against a Mountain City man accused of killing a couple over his daughter's Facebook page.

Marvin Enoch “Buddy” Potter is accused — along with three others — of killing Billy Clay Payne, 36, and Billie Jean Hayworth, 23. Both were shot in the head while they were in their home early on the morning of Jan. 31, 2012.

A week of testimony concluded this morning with defense witnesses, and both the state and the defense presented closing arguments. Judge John Kerry Blackwood released jurors for lunch and gave instructions for deliberations upon their return this afternoon.

Potter is one of four people charged in the slayings at 128 James Davis Lane in Mountain City. Potter is the first of the defendants to be tried for the killings. His trial was moved from Johnson County to Washington County.

He was arrested a week after the bodies were discovered and charged along with Jamie Lee Curd, who is scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 9.

A Johnson County grand jury in August returned presentments against Potter's wife and daughter, Barbara Mae Potter and Janelle Leigh Potter. Each has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

The case was the subject of worldwide interest on the Internet and made front page in newspapers around the globe because of the brutal nature of the slayings and their unusual motive. The slayings allegedly took place because Payne and Hayworth had “defriended” Janelle Potter on their Facebook account.

Related articles:

• Defense begins in Facebook trial

• State rests in first Facebook Murders trial; one murder count dismissed

• ‘I did it’ phone call to accused's wife part of testimony in Facebook murder trial

Jury hears testimony on second day of double murder trial

Jury begins hearing details in double murder case

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