Primal Instinct Premiered ‘Catfish Killer’ on Investigation Discovery: Jenelle, Barbara & Marvin Potter Serving Two Life Sentences for Facebook Murders (July 5, 2018)

ID Go: In a small Tennessee town, Jenelle Potter has few friends. When her attraction to one of them isn’t mutual, she is ostracized and feels threatened. Then a shadowy figure guides her family into a dark plot with a twisted ending no one saw coming. -Catfish Killer, Primal Instinct (S1, E4)

Date: January 31, 2012
Victims: Billie Jean Hayworth and Billy Payne
Offenders: Jenelle Potter, Barbara Potter, Marvin Potter, Marine Corp veteran
Location: Mountain City, Tennessee
Circumstances: Jenelle Potter catfished her parents Barbara and Marvin and led them to believe she was in danger, she posed as a CIA agent and manipulated Marvin Potter to kill Billie Jean Hayworth and Billy Payne after they unfriended her on Facebook
Disposition: Jenelle and Barbara Potter were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and given two life sentences; Marvin Potter plead guilty to murder and was given two life sentences

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

In the News:

Part 1: Living at home with her parents, Jenelle Potter spent most of her adult life on social media. -ABC News

Part 2: A friend found Bille Jean Hayworth and Billy Payne dead with single gunshot wounds to their faces. -ABC News

5 Dark & Twisted Catfish Stories. -FactFaction

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: A young couple is found murdered, execution style, their infant still alive in the mother’s arms. As police investigate, the story takes a shocking turn when the admitted shooter claims this was a sanctioned hit ordered by a rogue CIA agent. -To Pretty to Live, Investigation Discovery (S1, E1)

USA Network:

In Tennessee, a family is driven to despair when their daughter Jenelle becomes the target of social media bullying. When two of Jenelle’s tormentors are found dead, the police uncover a bizarre web of assumed identities and mental manipulation. -The Sinner


Jenelle Potter’s attorney, her sister, and others discuss the case after the verdict. -Killer Post, Oxygen

Jenelle Potter claimed that her Facebook account was hacked. -Criminal Confessions, Oxygen


A young mother is shot to death while she clutches her 7-month old baby. Her husband lies executed in the next room. This isn’t the story of a Hollywood drama, but the tragic end to an average Tennessee working class family. Billie Jean Hayworth and her husband Billy Payne were going about their normal weekday morning routine when they were senselessly and violently murdered. The events that led to that morning are inexplicable, fueled by the petty ignorance of a woman who used social media to manipulate and hurt people. We’re taking a look at the catfishing murders of East Tennessee in this episode of True Crime Brewery: Unfriended. Settle in for a twisted tale of senseless murder, jealousy, and cruelty beyond what most of us could ever imagine. -True Crime Brewery

Related Links:
Web of Death!
Accused Facebook killer has local ties
Stolen Valor Marine charged with double FACEBOOK murder in my hometown
Murdered over a Facebook snub: Dad guns down couple who deleted his daughter on social network
Tennessee father murders couple after pair had deleted his adult daughter as friend on Facebook, authorities say
Facebook “defriending” led to double murder, police say
Motive in double murder centers around de-friending on Facebook
Facebook Defriending Leads to Double Murder: Cops
What Does The Facebook Double Homicide Say About The Dark Side Of Social Media?
Murder investigation continues, court documents reveal tumultuous history
State closes in on Potter women
Tenn. father charged with murdering couple who”unfriended” daughter on Facebook
Woman posing as CIA agent convinces parents to kill Facebook friends
Testimony begins in Facebook ‘unfriending’ murder trial
Testimony begins in Facebook ‘unfriending’ murder trial
Testimony begins in Facebook ‘unfriending’ murder trial
Witness for the prosecution: Woman testifies against mother, sister in ‘Facebook murders’ trial
‘I never wished them dead’: Weeping killer begs for forgiveness over elaborate ‘catfish’ where she posed as a male CIA agent and encouraged the murder of a young couple
East Tennessee jury convicts women in Facebook slayings
East Tenn. mom, daughter convicted in slaying over Facebook unfriending
Guilty on all counts in Potter double-murder trial
Mother, daughter serve 2 life sentences in Tenn. Facebook murders
TN women convicted in Facebook slayings want new trial
Potter women to serve two life sentences; third person pleads guilty to role in Facebook murders
Marvin Potter sentenced to two life sentences for double murder
Potter guilty on two counts of First Degree Murder
Court of Criminal Appeals grants stay of appeal for Jenelle Potter
State of Tennessee vs. Marvin Potter, Jr. (2016)
Prosecutor writes book on Mountain City Facebook murders
Facebook murders documented in true crime book written by prosecutor
Story of Mountain City Facebook murders reaches national audience in book, tv special
Mountain City slayings case gets new prosecutor, new judge, new court date
Lawyer’s book about ‘Facebook Murders’ earns censure from TN Supreme Court
Prosecutor Censured for Book About Facebook Slayings
TDOC employee accused of meddling with Facebook murders case
Prison guard fired for letter on behalf of women convicted in ‘Facebook murders’
Convicted Tennessee Woman Denies Wanting Couple Dead After Social Media Feud
How a Social Media Feud Led to the Murder of a Young Tennessee Couple
‘Too pretty to live’: How a woman convinced her parents and boyfriend to kill ‘Facebook bullies’
Woman Impersonates CIA Agent to Convince Boyfriend, Parents to Murder Couple
Evil daughter tricked parents into murder
Prosecutor Censured for Book About Facebook Slayings
Facebook De-Friending Results in Double Murder
The Catfishing Murders of East Tennessee: Woman Poses as Male CIA Operative
Couple Murdered for ‘Unfriending’ Woman On Facebook
Jenelle Potter: ABC ’20/20′ Takes Look At Facebook Murder Of Mountain City, Tennessee Couple Who Unfriended Woman
Social Media Feuds That Escalated To Offline Murders
6 Murderers That Posted Their Kills On Facebook

Defense attorneys for women at center of “Facebook murders” ask for new trial
Defense attorneys in “Facebook murders” say new evidence revealed in prosecutor’s book warrants new trial
TDOC employee accused of meddling with Facebook murders case
Sullivan County District Attorney taking over “Facebook murders” case
TN appeals court upholds Marvin Potter’s conviction in Facebook killings
Tennessee Woman Claims She’s Victim of Online Threats to Her Life
Young Couple Found Murdered With Baby Alive, Covered in Blood
Unfriended: The Catfish Murders of Billie Jean Hayworth and Billy Payne
Episode 23: Jenelle Potter | Moms and Murder | A Podcast
Episode 23: Jenelle Potter | Moms and Murder | A Podcast
Jenelle Potter | Sword and Scale Episode 62 | Podcast
10: Jenelle Potter and the Facebook of Lies and Creepy Carl’s Corpse | Darkest Corners Podcast
The Sinner | Famous Murders Bizarre Motives: Jenelle Potter | USA Network
Criminal Confessions: Was Jenelle Potter Hacked? – Preview (Season 2, Episode 1) | Oxygen
#killerpost: After the Verdict Episode 1 – Payne and Potter | Oxygen
To Pretty to Live | Investigation Discovery (S1, E1)
Catfish Killer | Primal Instinct | Investigation Discovery (S1, E4)
Catfish Killer | Primal Instinct | Investigation Discovery (website)
5 Dark & Twisted Catfish Stories

Unusual Suspects Premiered ‘Mother’s Day Murders’ on ID: Timothy Hennis on Military Death Row for Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn (October 8, 2012)

While on death row, Tim Hennis received an anonymous letter confessing to the murders. The note didn’t produce any leads. -CNN (July 17, 2014)

The star witness in Tim Hennis’ trial had doubts about whether Hennis committed the murders. -CNN (July 17, 2014)

A man tried three times for his life but is he a killer? Find out! Death Row Stories. -CNN (September 5, 2014)

The brutal murder of a U.S. Army wife and her two young daughters. One year later, a mountain of circumstantial evidence sent U.S. Army sergeant Timothy Hennis to death row for the crime, but the case later took a unique turn in legal history. -Timothy Hennis, Death Row Stories (S1,E7)


Katie & Children

Kathryn Eastburn, Cara Eastburn, and Erin Eastburn

Related Links:
Death Row Stories: Hennis Trailer | CNN
I did the crime…you’re doin’ the time | CNN
Death penalty case’s ‘Perry Mason moment’ | CNN
Timothy Hennis | Death Row Stories | CNN (S1,E7)
Four U.S. Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
A Military Jury Delivered a Guilty Verdict in a Death Penalty Trial to Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis for the Triple Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn (April 8, 2010)
In 3rd Trial, Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis Sentenced to Death by Military Court Martial for the Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn at Fort Bragg (April 15, 2010)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death and Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)
Mother’s Day Murders | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (website)
Mother’s Day Murders | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Eastburn Family Murders | True Crime Brewery Podcast
3 People on Death Row Who May Be Innocent Part 2

Becky Friedli, Jon Hayward & Vicki Friedli Found Dead at Burnt Down Pinyon Pines Home in California; Cristin Smith & Robert Pape Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (September 17, 2006)

Pinyon Pines – It’s a Triple Homicide Investigation Gone Cold. It’s been six years and still no arrests. Now the family is taking action to find answers. -KMIR (August 6, 2012)

KMIR’s Elizabeth Beaubien investigates an unsolved triple murder case. -KMIR (April 26, 2013)

Elizabeth Beaubien’s EXCLUSIVE reporting on the 7th anniversary of the triple murders at Pinyon Pines in 2006. -KMIR (September 17, 2013)

New Angle in Pinyon Pines Murder Investigation. -KMIR (February 4, 2014)

It’s been over seven years since three people were brutally murdered and set on fire in the community of Pinyon Pines just up Highway 74. Now, the father of the youngest victim, 18 year old Becky Friedli, wants justice. -KMIR (February 4, 2014)

Pinyon Pines Press Conference -KMIR (February 4, 2014)

Although, we have uncovered another connection to this triple murder that brings to light many more questions of a possible conflict of interest. That connection is the death of 18 year old Danica Denton. She was killed in a hit and run in Cathedral City February 11, 2009. She was 8 months pregnant at the time and the baby did not survive. -KMIR (February 12, 2014)

UPDATE: Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Cold Case -KMIR (February 13, 2014)

KMIR News was the first to report two men have been arrested in the 2006 triple murders in Pinyon Pines. -March 11, 2014)

The latest information on the Pinyon Pines triple murder cold case. -KMIR (March 13, 2014)

Supporters of the suspects and friends and family of the victims are taking to Facebook to post their opposing views of the arrests in the 2006 Pinyon Pines triple murders. -KMIR (March 14, 2014)

DA Paul Zellerbach speaks with Elizabeth Beaubien about the Pinyon Pines triple murder investigation. -KMIR (March 17, 2014)

Opening statements were delivered in a trial for the triple homicide that happened in September 2006 in a Riverside County area known as Pinyon Pines. -ABC7 (April 17, 2018)

A tragic set of horrible circumstances brought jurors to a Riverside County courtroom to hear the grim details of a 12-year-old murder case. -ABC7 (May 22, 2018)

True Crime Daily:

A home burns to the ground high above the Coachella Valley in California. The triple-homicide made headlines, and may finally be solved. But it’s not the first time investigators have thought they had their men. -True Crime Daily (October 19, 2016)

The blazing fire left a cold trail for years — but now a suspect might come to light in the triple-homicide. -True Crime Daily (October 19, 2016)

Over half a decade after the unsolved murders of on Jon Hayward, his girlfriend Vicki Friedli and her daughter Becky Friedli, suspicions turn to Cristin Smith and Becky’s ex-boyfriend, Robert Pape. -True Crime Daily (October 19, 2016)

Seven years after the triple-homicide, Becky’s ex-boyfriend and his friend were arrested for the crime — but not for long. Things get complicated. -True Crime Daily (October 19, 2016)

Becky Friedli, her mom Vicki Friedli, and Vicki’s boyfriend Jon Hayward were living high above California’s Coachella Valley in a secluded neighborhood called Pinyon Pines. -True Crime Daily (June 19, 2019)

48 Hours CBS:

A family murdered in their home. Years later, an arrest but then the two suspects are unexpectedly freed. “48 Hours” Troy Roberts reports. -CBS New York (January 16, 2015)

Drew Friedli recites a poem her sister, Becky, left on Myspace, before her murder in 2006. Drew feels the poem, “If I Knew It was the Last Time,” encompasses who Becky was because she always let people know that she loved them. -48 Hours (January 16, 2015)

Saturday, Aug. 1 starting at 9/8c on CBS: A triple murder, a young woman set afire in a wheelbarrow. Police have suspects until a courtroom twist changes everything. Then at 10/9c: Was an alleged religious cult responsible for a young bride’s death? -48 Hours (July 28, 2015)

The new district attorney for Riverside, California, has promised to look at the Pinyon Pines murder cold case with “an open mind.” “48 Hours” correspondent Troy Roberts discusses the case with CBSN. -CSBN (July 31, 2015)

A triple murder, a young woman set afire in a wheelbarrow. Police have suspects until a courtroom twist changes everything. “48 Hours ” has the latest on the case including an emotional verdict Saturday, July 28 at 10/9c on CBS. -48 Hours (July 27, 2018)


The Friedli family home in Pinyon Pines, California was burned to the ground in 2006. This was no accident. Inside, investigators found the charred remains of Vicki Friedli and her boyfriend, Jon Hayward. Out front, posed grotesquely in a wheelbarrow, were the remains of 18 year old Becky Friedli. She, too, was burned beyond recognition. This terrible crime went unsolved for years even though family and friends of the victims had no doubt who was responsible. Finally, justice may be in sight. -True Crime Brewery (November 6, 2016)

The Pinyon Pines Murders Part 1 -California True Crime (February 14, 2019)

The Pinyon Pines Murders Part 2 -California True Crime (February 21, 2019)

Related Links:
Murder in Pinyon Pines | 48 Hours
Men charged in Pinyon Pines triple-murder for second time in two years
Pinyon Pines mystery: 3 murdered, set on fire in remote desert community
Pathologist reveals autopsy findings in Pinyon Pines murder trial
Tape reveals details of defendant’s, victim’s relationship in Pinyon Pines triple murder trial
Witness: Accused RivCo Killer Not Violent, ‘Best Person’ Ever
Pinyon Pines murder trial: Everything you should know about the case
Key witness in Pinyon Pines triple murder trial speaks out
2 men found guilty in 2006 Pinyon Pines murders
Two Men Guilty in Family’s Gruesome Pinyon Pines Murder
Anger and Joy After Guilty Verdicts in Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Case
Pair who murdered Pinyon Pines family to be sentenced
Pinyon Pines murder case: Defendants sentenced to life without parole
Pinyon Pines murders: Pair kill, burn family-of-three—discarding slain teen’s charred remains in wheelbarrow

Video Links:
Family of Murder Victims Seek Answers
Mystery in Pinyon Pines
Pinyon Pines Anniversary Preview
New Angle in Pinyon Pines Murder Investigation
UPDATE: Pinyon Pines Triple Murder
Pinyon Pines Press Conference
More Questions About Pinyon Pines Conflicts Of Interest
State AG Will Not Review Pinyon Pines Murders
UPDATE: Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Cold Case
Arrests in the Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Case
Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Cold Case Continuing Coverage
Reaction on Facebook to the Pinyon Pines Arrests
Pinyon Pines Arrests Coverage – 11pm KMIR News Thursday, March 13, 2014
KMIR News interview with Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach
Inland Empire triple murder trial opens | ABC7
Closing arguments heard in Pinyon Pines murder case | ABC7
Pinyon Pines mystery: 3 murdered, set on fire in remote desert community (Pt. 1)
Pinyon Pines mystery: 3 murdered, set on fire in remote desert community (Pt. 2)
Pinyon Pines mystery: 3 murdered, set on fire in remote desert community (Pt. 3)
Pinyon Pines mystery: 3 murdered, set on fire in remote desert community (Pt. 4)
Legal experts discuss Pinyon Pines murder case – Crime Watch Daily
Mystery in Pinyon Pines: Three found in smoldering ruins of house
Cruel Intentions | True Crime Brewery Podcast
The Pinyon Pines Murders Part 1 | California True Crime Podcast
The Pinyon Pines Murders Part 2 | California True Crime Podcast
48 Hours Preview: Murder In Pinyon Pines
Sister reads one of Becky Friedli’s last postings on social media
Preview: “48 Hours” double feature
“48 Hours” probes Pinyon Pines triple murder case
Sneak peek: Murder in Pinyon Pines