Law enforcement officials are continuing to investigate what could have led to the double murder of Billy Payne Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth in Johnson County on January 31st. Court documents reveal a history of shouting matches, harassing telephone calls and threats of violence that pitted 30-year-old Jenelle Potter, and eventually her parents and a friend, against Payne and Hayworth, people she interacted with on the internet.
Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece says his department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation interviewed more than 150 individuals during the investigation before arresting Jamie Lynn Curd, 38, of 2358 Pleasant Valley Road, Mountain City, TN and Marvin “Buddy” Potter, Jr., 60, of 727 Hospital Road, Mountain City, TN. “They had been people of interest from the beginning,” said Reece after the arrests. “Everything pointed back to these two.” He confirmed that Facebook and internet altercations played a part in the shootings. According to a TBI press release, Payne and Hayworth made complaints against Potter’s daughter for harassing and making threats against them by telephone and Internet in 2011. Curd, who is Payne’s second cousin, went to court in defense of Potter’s daughter last year about the accusations.
“This Facebook thing was evidently her whole life,” said Sheriff Reece. “If you deleted her, they started harassing you. If you ran into them in town, you had an altercation with them. It was an ongoing thing with these people.”
Reece said his office even received complaints from Potter’s parents when their daughter was blocked from other people’s social network profiles.
“These people that we’re dealing with, we’ve dealt with for some time,” Reece said. “But we never seen it go to this extent.”
Payne and Hayworth were found dead on January 31st reportedly by a friend who carpooled to work with Payne. Both victims had been shot in the head and Payne’s throat was cut post-mortem. Their six-month-old son was found unhurt in his mother’s arms.
TBI agents were scheduled to interview Jenelle Potter on Thursday, however according to Sheriff Reece, Potter did not show up for the meeting.
A female relative of Potter applied for an order of protection against her in the spring of 2011, claiming in her petition that Potter and a man called her repeatedly over several months, because she had “de-friended her from Facebook.” General Sessions Judge William B. Hawkins dismissed that application, which was the second filed against Potter.
It is believed that staff from Inside Edition, the television series, will be in Johnson County on Wednesday with regard to the recent double murders. Marvin Buddy Potter, Jr. is due to appear in court on Wednesday.
Attempts to reach Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, for comment on the double murders have not been successful as of press time.
The Tomahawk will continue to provide updates on this case as they are made available.