MOUNTAIN CITY — The second of two men accused in the murders of Billy Clay Payne Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth was arraigned in a short session in the Lower Courtroom of the Johnson County Courthouse at midday Wednesday.
Marvin Enoch “Buddy” Potter Jr., 60, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Sessions Court Judge William Hawkins increased Potter’s bond from $200,000 to $750,000 per count, for a total bond of $1.5 million.
The charges and bond are the same as for Jamie Lynn Curd, 38, who was arraigned last week. Curd was represented at that time by Public Defender R.O. Smith because he did not have immediate cash to hire an attorney. Potter was not arraigned until Wednesday because he had declared his intention to hire an attorney. Randy Fallin has been hired as Potter’s lawyer.
While both men are accused in the murder, the arrest warrants signed by Special Agent Scott Lott of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation indicate that investigators believe Potter “did shoot both victims in the head, causing their deaths with intent and premeditation.”
The arrest warrant for Curd indicates he “aided in the commission of the homicides.”
Pottter and Curd are accused of entering the residence of Payne and Hayworth at 128 James Davis Lane sometime after 5:30 a.m. Jan. 31 and killing them. Payne was found at 10:30 a.m. in his bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head and his throat cut. Hayworth was found in the nursery for the couple’s 6-month-old son. She had also been shot in the head. When her body was found, the baby was in her arms. The child was unhurt.
After interviews with the defendants, Sheriff Mike Reece said the motive behind the killings had been over an Internet dispute which ultimately led Payne and Hayworth to remove Potter’s daughter, Janelle Potter, as “friends” from the couple’s Facebook site.
Reece said there has been two prior court cases in Johnson County over Internet and telephone harassment involving Janelle Potter. In those cases, Payne and Hayworth were witnesses against her while Curd had testified on behalf of Potter.
In the past week the sheriff’s department has interviewed Janelle Potter and her Facebook account is being subpoenaed, Reece said.
Both Marvin Potter and Curd are scheduled to appear in Sessions Court again March 21, when a preliminary hearing is to be held.