Local News

Story published: 08-14-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Mother and daughter charged in Payne, Hayworth deaths


By Lacy Hilliard

Mother and daughter Barbara and Janelle Potter were both arrested and charged in connection with the “Facebook Murders” which occurred in January of 2012 and left Billy Payne, Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth dead in their home, their infant son found unharmed in his mothers lifeless arms. The murder allegedly occurred as a result of a Facebook disagreement between Janelle Potter (daughter of Marvin Potter, Jr. and ex-girlfriend of Jamie Lynn Curd) and the victims.

Two arrests have already been made in the case. Jamie Lynn Curd and Marvin Potter, Jr. have been in custody since February of 2012, awaiting trial on the charge of First Degree Murder. Early last week it was decided that the Curd and Marvin Potter trials would be granted a change of venue. On Friday, August 9, both Barbara Potter, the wife of Marvin Potter, Jr. and Janelle Potter, the daughter of Marvin Potter, Jr. and Barbara Potter, were arrested in connection with the same crime. Jamie Lynn Curd is also tied to Janelle as the pair were reportedly in a romantic relationship at the time of the murder.

Investigators were unable to go into detail about the evidence that led to the arrest of the Potter women; however, Sheriff Mike Reece did say that the majority of the evidence stems from emails and Facebook messages composed by both Janelle and Barbara.

The pair were arrested at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Washington County, VA where Janelle was receiving treatment for anxiety that reportedly stemmed from a subpoena that would require her to take the stand at her father’s trial. Barbara, accompanied her daughte to the hospital and was taken into custody while Janelle was receiving treatment. Immediately following her discharge from Johnston Memorial, Janelle was also taken into custody.

Both Janelle and Barbara were extradited to Johnson County on August 12 to await their arraignment. Both women are charged with Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder, a charge that can carry a sentence of up to 60 years in prison. Their arraignment is set for October 28 and their bail has been set at $500,000 each. Shortly after her arrival in Johnson County, Barbara Potter was moved to the Washington County Jail in Johnson City. Janelle Potter remains in Johnson County. However, Sheriff Reece has stated that he has requested a transfer to a special needs facility in Nashville due to concerns about her mental health. Marvin Potter, Jr. will remain at the Johnson County Jail and Jamie Lynn was moved to the Unicoi County Jail after several altercations at the Johnson County facility.

The Tomahawk will continue to update the community on this story as it progresses.