By Nathan Baker
MOUNTAIN CITY — Public Defender Jeff Kelly argued Thursday in Johnson County Criminal Court that evidence collected during a search of Jamie Lynn Curd’s vehicle was illegally obtained and should not be allowed at his upcoming trial in the slaying of a Doe Valley couple last year.
Kelly asked Special Judge Jon Blackwood to suppress evidence found in the vehicle, claiming Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department deputies did not have probable cause for a search, nor did they have a legal reason to impound the car as it sat in the sheriff’s department parking lot after Curd’s arrest.
“Basically everything they’ve done in this case has been tacked on at the end,” Kelly said. “There’s no doubt about that; it’s all been done backwards.”
According to testimony from TBI Agent Scott Lott, who took the stand for most of the hour-long hearing, Curd turned himself in to Johnson County authorities on Feb. 6, 2012, a week after Billy Payne Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth were found shot to death inside their home on Jane Davis Lane.
Lott said Curd told authorities that he and Marvin “Buddy” Potter Jr., also accused in the slayings, drove to the couple’s home on the night of Jan. 31, 2012, in Potter’s Ford F-350 pickup truck.
The agent testified that Curd told police Potter shot the two victims, and then the two traveled back to Potter’s home, from where Curd drove to his home in his own vehicle.
Lott said that during questioning, Curd also agreed to place a recorded telephone call to Potter, during which, Lott testified, Potter said he disposed of the gun, knife and gloves used during the crime.
Lott testified that Curd was arrested after his interview with police and escorted to his car, which was parked outside the sheriff’s department headquarters.
Upon discovering that the vehicle was extremely cluttered and “looked like he had been living out of the car,” Lott said he decided that time constraints did not allow him to search the vehicle for a cellphone that Curd claimed held messages that further implicated Potter.
Two days later, on Feb. 8, Lott said the JCSD began an inventory of the items in the vehicle before impounding it, claiming it had been abandoned.
The following day, investigators were granted a warrant to seize items found during the inventory by Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp, and on Feb. 10, the vehicle was impounded.