Tennessee daughter, mother convicted in ‘Facebook murders’ case asking for new trials

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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — All three members of a Johnson County family who were sentenced to life in prison in the high-profile “Facebook murders” case appeared in Washington County Criminal Court Tuesday.

A jury found Marvin Potter, his wife Barbara, and their daughter Jenelle guilty of first-degree murder for the 2012 shooting deaths of Bill Payne and Billie Jean Hayworth. Prosecutors said Marvin Potter shot and killed the couple after Jenelle told him they had a social media dispute. All three were sentenced to life in prison.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Barbara and Jenelle Potter’s attorneys requested they both receive new trials, citing conflicts of interest. Barbara’s attorney said an attorney represented both her and Marvin Potter in legal proceedings, resulting in her not getting fair counsel or representation. The judge said he wants proof this adversely affected the trials.

Jenelle Potter’s attorney said she was convicted in 2015 without her father being called to testify, since he had already been convicted of firing the gun in the murder. Her attorney claimed this prevented her from receiving a fair trial.

Attorney Tate Davis was called to the stand to testify regarding the representation of Barbara and Martin Potter in the 2015. Davis assisted in the trial and said lead counsel Randy Fallin represented both of them.

While on the stand Tuesday, Marvin Potter admitted to the murder of Payne, marking his first time giving the details of what happened when he and accomplice Jamie Curd went to the couple’s home. The attorneys for Barbara and Jenelle Potter said this testimony would have made a difference and proven their innocence if he had taken the stand in their trials.

Closing arguments will take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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