(The Associated Press-Jonesborough) An eastern Tennessee man has been found guilty of killing two people in a dispute over being unfriended from a Facebook page.
Washington County Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood sentenced Marvin Enoch "Buddy" Potter Jr. Friday night to two life sentences for the deaths of 36-year-old Billy Payne and 23-year-old Billie Jean Hayworth. A jury returned guilty verdicts on the pair Friday night.
The Johnson City Press reported that a hearing in Mountain City on Oct. 29 will determine if the sentences for each will be served consecutively.
Three other people are charged with first-degree murder in the shootings, which police say were caused by Hayworth and Payne "unfriending" Potter's daughter, Janelle, on Facebook.
Payne and Hayworth were murdered at their home in Mountain City on Jan. 31, 2012. Both were shot in the head and Payne had his throat cut. Hayworth was shot while holding her 6-month-old son. The baby was uninjured but left in its dead mother's arms.
Potter's wife, Barbara; Janelle; and family friend Jamie Curd are facing upcoming trials. The Oct. 29 hearing will also determine whether the three will be tried together or separately.
Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece said he appreciated the jury's verdict
"It's been a long week, but I thought we had a good jury and they did good job," Reece said.
Prosecutors Dennis Brooks and Matthew Roark described the case as a difficult one because of the volume of Internet evidence, such as emails and Facebook pages.
"There just hasn't been a lot of cases, a lot of precedents," Roark said.
The evidence included shredded emails found in a garbage bag in Payne's truck bed. The TBI spent a month piecing the documents back together. The documents contained many threats and hate-filled rants directed toward Payne and Hayworth, some of their friends and "that damn baby." The messages included comments such as "kill, kill, kill." Brooks said the shredded emails provided the motive for the killings.
Potter was transported to the Johnson County Jail immediately following his conviction