herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Couple shot dead over Facebook defriending

KILLING: Two arrested and 80 guns found after murder

A DOUBLE murder was believed to have been sparked by a Facebook 'defriending'.

Investigators in Tennessee had recovered over 80 handguns from the home of Marvin Enoch Potter Jr, who is scheduled to be arraigned today on suspicion of playing a role in the killings.

"It looks like we've not found the actual murder weapon yet," said Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece.

Authorities in the rural community in northeast Tennessee say Billy Clay Payne Jr and Billie Jean Hayworth were killed last month after they deleted Jenelle Potter, Potter's daughter, from their "friends" list on the popular social network site.

Both victims were shot in the head and Payne had his throat cut. The couple's 8-month-old baby was in found in Hayworth's arms, unharmed.

Potter (60) and Jamie Lynn Curd (38) appeared last Wednesday in court, charged with first-degree murder.

Potter's arraignment was postponed until today because he wanted to hire his own lawyer, said Assistant District Attorney Matthew Roark.

Lawyer H Randolph Fallin said yesterday he had been retained to represent Potter and that he planned to enter a not guilty plea today. No charges have been filed against Jenelle Potter, the sheriff said.

County Mayor Larry Potter -- no relation to the suspect -- said people were "just devastated" by the case.

"It makes you plum sick that things like this can happen," said the Mayor, who has spent all 56 of his years in Mountain City and Johnson County, which have a combined population of around 18,000.

RO Smith, of the public defender's office, was appointed to defend Curd, who is being held on $1.5m (¤1.1m) bond, awaiting the March 21 preliminary hearing set for both men.

The sheriff said Jenelle Potter was constantly on Facebook and had in the past feuded with other friends on the site.



Fire

"Once you've crossed her, you've crossed her father too," Reece said.

Last year in Iowa, a woman was arrested on accusations of setting fire to a friend's garage after she was defriended on Facebook, local media reported.

In Texas, a man was accused of hitting his wife after she failed to "like" a Facebook post he wrote about the anniversary of his mother's death, according to media reports.

hnews@herald.ie

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