A Washington County jury began hearing details Monday morning about the double murder of the parents of a 7-month-old baby on Jan. 31, 2012. The jurors heard the mother was shot in the head at close range while she was holding her baby in the nursery.
It was the first day of trial for Marvin Enoch “Buddy” Potter Jr., the first of three family members and one friend to be tried in the shooting deaths of Billy Clay Payne, 36, and Billie Jean Hayworth, 23. The murders made a big impact on small, close-knit Johnson County, leading to a change of venue for the first case. A hearing later this month will determine whether there will be a change of venue for the first-degree murder trials of Potter’s wife, Barbara Potter; their daughter, Janelle Potter; and Jamie Curtis, who was described by prosecutors as a cousin and workmate of Payne but had “some love interest with Janelle Potter.”
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood is presiding over the trial, which began with testimony of lead investigator Scott Lott of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Lott showed the jury a gallery of crime scene photographs showing how the bodies of Payne and Hayworth were found a few hours after the shootings. The pictures of the dead parents, lying next to toys, baby blankets and the crib of their young son were so troubling that defense attorney Randy Fallin told the jurors that it would take a very cold-hearted person to commit those crimes. He began laying the groundwork for a case of a drug deal gone bad. David Robbins is Fallin’s partner on the defense team.
Read the full report on the Johnson City Press website.