Potter women to serve two life sentences; third person pleads guilty to role in Facebook murders


WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) -A judge sentenced three people Tuesday for their roles in the 2012 murders of a Johnson County couple.

Jamie Curd pleaded guilty to two counts of facilitation to commit first degree murder.

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood sentenced him to 25 years. At the minimum, curd must serve 30 percent of the sentence. So with three years already served, in about five years curd will be eligible to get out. But, his attorney Casey Sears he will not parole out this early on this case.

Curd made a plea deal with the state and testified for the prosecution during the May trial of mother and daughter pair Barbara and Jenelle Potter.

A jury convicted the Potter women of two counts each of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of Billy Payne and Billie Jean Hayworth.

Today the judge sentenced them both to serve two concurrent life sentences, instead of serving them consecutively.

This makes four people sentenced in this case. Barbara’s husband and Jenelle’s dad Marvin Potter was tried and convicted of the murders in 2013.

When the victims were murdered their baby Tyler was left in his mother’s arms.

For the victims’ families who sat through each day of both trials, they say Tuesday was a day of closure.

Billy Payne’s Mom Beverly Garland, and Billie Jean Hayworth’s sister Janie Hayworth took the stand and spoke directly to the defendants.

“Barbara you wanted to know if you’re going to hell, yeah you’re going to hell,” Garland said.

“We hope each day from here on out as you sit in your prison cells for the rest of your lives the images of Bill and Billie Jean’s bodies and of Tyler laying in his mother’s arms haunts you every second of each and every day,” Janie Hayworth said.

“They should never see the light of day, I think they ought to be able to spend 102 years…I hope they live a long life in there,” Garland said.

Tuesday, Judge Blackwood called these murders the most bizarre, senseless murders he has seen in his decades on the bench.

The state said the murders were driven by jealousy and a conflict made up in the mind of Jenelle Potter.

“We will tell Tyler how much his parents loved him and wanted to be with him and watch him grow up, but that some evil, cruel, vindictive, heartless cowards planned their murders, and to steal them away from him. You may have taken his parents but you will never take away the memories that we will be sharing with him,” Janie Hayworth said.

After countless hours over the last two years spent in the courtroom, Tuesday Garland said she’s relieved this will likely be the last time she has to see the Potter women.

“I hope I never have to again, makes me sick,” Garland said.

The state said the victims “unfriended” Jenelle Potter on Facebook. The state said the Potter women prompted Curd and Marvin Potter to go to the victims’ house one morning in 2012.

“You are just as responsible for the trigger being pulled as the person who actually pulled it,” Janie Hayworth said.

“I can sleep at night wondering at the terror that them kids went through that morning. It’s just there’s not a minute out of the day where something don’t remind me of Billy and how wonderful he was,” Garland said.

Both victims were shot to death, but someone had also slashed Payne’s throat.

“I think of poor Billie Jean, she knew Billy was dead and they were coming after her and her baby,” Garland said. I still to this day don’t know why Billy’s throat was cut, but you do Jamie, you know why Billy’s throat was cut, evil.”

Both women say above all they wanted to tell the Potters and Curd Tuesday, “How wonderful Billy was,” garland said. “I wanted them to know how special Billie Jean was,” Janie Hayworth said,

Before the murders, the family said Payne and Curd were friends.

“Billy always went out of his way to help others and Jamie knows that, Jamie didn’t have friends Billy took him in and made him his friend, and treated him like a brother,” Garland said.

Payne left behind two sons.

“He will never get to see his sons grow up and watch them have a family of their own,” Garland said.

The families say they still don’t understand why they were killed, but they know their own lives will never be the same.

“This parts over, but it will never be over, I think about it every day,” Janie Hayworth said

“No more Christmases together, no more sitting around the table listening to Billy laugh and tell jokes. We go to a graveyard now, clean it up, and put fresh flowers. We don’t do anything like we did before, our lives are over, they didn’t only kill him, they killed us all, that was my son,” Garland said. “He’ll never get to call me for Mother’s Day, or my birthday, and I will never get to call Billy on his birthday”

The sentencing hearing came just days before what would have been Payne’s 40th birthday.

“This is a birthday present for him, some justice, some closure,” Garland said.

She said her days of sitting in the courtroom aren’t over. Garland said she plans to be at all of Curd’s future hearings.

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