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Judge denies motions by Potters for new trial and barring of book publication

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

The Potter women, both currently serving two life sentences in connection with the 2012 murders of Billie Jean Hayworth and Billy Clay Payne, recently asked a judge to grant them a new trial. That request was denied. 
Mother and daughter Barbara and Jenelle Potter were both found guilty on two counts of murder in the first degree for the roles they played in what many local residents cite as one of the worst tragedies to ever hit Mountain City. 
Billy Clay Payne and Billie Jean Hayworth were a young couple who had recently celebrated the birth of their only son, Tyler. Payne and Hayworth were murdered in their home on January 31, 2012. Their infant son was also in the home at the time of the murders and was found unharmed in his mother’s lifeless arms. What led to the young couple’s tragic end stemmed from a web of lies and deception woven by Jenelle Potter. Creating faux personas by way of the internet, Jenelle used her cast of characters to convince her mother Barbara, her father Marvin, and her boyfriend at the time Jamie Lynn Curd, that Hayworth and Payne intended to bring harm upon her. As a result, Marvin Potter and Jamie Lynn Curd killed the young couple. Marvin Potter is also currently serving two life sentences. However, Jamie Lynn Curd was given a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony during the trial of the Potter women. 
Though the request for a new trial was denied, Attorney for the Defense, Cameron Hyder, had another request up his sleeve. Recently, news broke that prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks, intends to publish a true crime novel about the Potter case. Hyder told Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood that Dennis Brooks should be barred from publishing his book until all appeals have been exhausted in the case. Judge Blackwood then informed Hyder that he has no authority to rule on the request for a stop publication. In addition, Judge Blackwood did say that the request could be revisited later in the Criminal Court of Appeals. 

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