WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- One of the men sentenced in the murder of a Johnson County couple three years ago is already up for parole.
In July, a judge sentenced Barbara and Jenelle Potter to two life sentences for the killings of Bill Payne and Billie Jean Hayworth.
It’s a crime that became known as the “Facebook murders.” Investigators said the couple was murdered after a dispute on social media.
The patriarch of the Potter family, Marvin Potter, is also serving two life sentences for the murders.
The other man involved, Jamie Curd has been in prison now for about 3.5 years.
He cut a plea deal back in July, pleading guilty to two counts of facilitation to commit 1st degree murder. He got 25 years in prison at 30% equal to 7.5 years.
Now just a few months later he is eligible for parole.
“He helped kill two people. And leave two children without a father and one without a father and one without a mother and a father, it is ridiculous that he comes up for parole, what is wrong with our justice system?” Beverly Garland, Bill Payne’s mom said.
Prosecutors said Curd was there with Marvin Potter the day of the murders but potter was the one who killed.
“This is a man that could’ve stopped every bit of this,” Garland said.
Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks prosecuted these cases and said, though it isn’t likely, if Curd is granted parole it would be a slap in the face to the victims.
“I’m always disappointed with how Tennessee does its calculations of time. There’s a lot of time credits that we attach to people we don’t have truth in sentencing in Tennessee, sometimes 25 doesn’t mean 25,” Brooks said.
And they aren’t the only ones disappointed.
After a 20/20 special aired last week on the murders, Barbara Potter’s lawyer released a statement she made, maintaining her innocence and blaming Curd.
She said in part, “Whatever else the 20/20 program might have stated, we have once again established beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jamie Lynn Curd is most certainly a master manipulator of the first degree.”
“It’s hard for her, even for her to figure out what Jamie was or was not doing, she feels like he manipulated her, manipulated Marvin, and of course Jenelle,” Tate Davis, one of Barbara Potter’s attorneys said.
And though Brooks doesn’t want Curd out any time soon, he said he isn’t solely to blame.
“She will pass off responsibility anyway she can, the idea that Jamie Curd orchestrated this great thing to frame the potters is ludicrous,” Brooks said.
As far as the likelihood of Curd getting out early, “Violent crimes, when victims voice objection to parole, potential parolees have a very difficult time getting parole,” Brooks said.
“The Board only grants parole to about a third of the eligible offenders whose cases it hears each year. Many offenders serve their sentences to expiration without ever receiving parole,” Melissa McDonald, Communications Director for the Tennessee Board of Parole said.
We also asked the Tennessee Department of Corrections why Curd was up for parole.
“Curd was given credit for the time served while awaiting trial and sentencing along with good behavior credits both prior to coming into TDOC’s custody and since (per T.C.A 41-21-236 and TDOC Policy 505.01), which has been calculated giving him an eligibility date for a parole hearing this coming November,” Robert Reburn, TDOC East Tennessee Region Public Information Officer said. “Note, a parole hearing does not mean an offender will be released on parole, just that the offender will be given the opportunity to meet the board. “
Regardless, Garland said she will be at Curd’s parole hearing next month.
“I will be doing everything in my power to keep him in there,” Garland said.
A side note- Tuesday a judge heard arguments for an appeal on Marvin Potter’s trial.
Potter was the first person convicted in this case. The court will decide in the next few weeks if it will grant the appeal. Potter’s attorney said he hopes for a new trial.
Meanwhile Barbara and Jenelle Potter have both filed motions for a new trial.Copyright 2015 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.