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Parents Murdered, Baby Orphaned: Result of 'Defriending' Tenn. Father's Adult Daughter on Facebook


"It's a senseless thing."

MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (The Blaze/AP) -- A father who was upset after a Tennessee couple deleted his adult daughter as a friend on Facebook has been charged in the shooting deaths of the couple, authorities said Wednesday.

The victims had complained to police that Marvin's Potter's daughter was harassing them after they deleted her as a friend on the social networking site, Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece said Wednesday.

Potter, 60, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in last week's slayings of Billy Payne Jr. and his girlfriend, Billie Jean Hayworth. The couple was shot to death in their Mountain City home in the far northeast corner of the state. Their 8-month-old baby was found unharmed in Hayworth's arms.

"It's a senseless thing," the sheriff said.

Watch the local news report:

Authorities have been involved other cases where Potter's daughter, Jenelle Potter, believed she had been slighted by someone.

Marvin Potter's friend, Jamie Curd, has also been charged in the killings. Curd, 38, had romantic feelings for Jenelle Potter, 30, the sheriff said.

TriCities.com has more from the sheriff:

Reece said Jenelle Potter has a history of getting angry when people de-friend her on Facebook.

“Apparently, she was on the internet all the time,” Reece said. “That was her life. When she was a friend with someone on Facebook and they removed her, she went ballistic. This is just a senseless thing. That’s no reason to kill people.”

According to court documents, on May 7, 2011, another woman actually took Potter to court. Lindsey Thomas filed a telephone harassment complaint against Potter.

“Jenelle Potter whom I’ve never met has been harassing me for months now,” Thomas said in her affidavit of complaint. “She has called my phone anywhere from 5-20 times a day. I have asked her on more than one occasion to quit calling me, but have had no luck. This all started because I deleted her off my Facebook. She continues to lie and say stuff about me all over her Facebook. I have proof of Phone calls and stuff on Facebook.”

Potter and Curd were arraigned Wednesday. Potter asked for time to hire an attorney while Curd was assigned a public defender who did not immediately return a phone message.

Assistant District Attorney General Matthew Roark said Curd's initial bond was raised to $1.5 million while Roark agreed to put off a bond hearing for Potter until next week, when he is expected to have an attorney. Potter remains jailed on his initial $200,000 bond.

The victims lived with Billy Payne Sr., who was the last person to see them alive. He told detectives he saw Hayworth get up to feed the baby before he left for work at about 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 31.

The slayings were discovered about five hours later when a former neighbor stopped by to pick up mail the family would save for him.

The younger Payne was found in his bedroom, and Hayworth was found in the baby's room.

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