A Tennessee man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of brutally murdering him parents over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016 and dismembering their remains.
Joel Guy Jr, 32, sat with a blank expression on his face when a Knox County jury found him guilty on Friday of two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse.
Prosecutors alleged he fatally stabbed his parents, Joel Guy Sr., 61, and Lisa Guy, 55, dozens of times, attempted to dissolve some of their remains in chemicals and boiled his mother’s severed head in a stockpot.
Guilty: Joel Guy Jr, 32, showed no emotion when a Tennessee jury on October 2 found him guilty of murdering his parents and dismembering their bodies for financial gain
Guy Jr was arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, just days after the gruesome killings in November 2016. Prosecutor said he killed his parents because they wanted to cut off his financial support
The grisly double homicide was part of a plot to cash in on $500,000 in life insurance benefits, which the prosecution said Guy Jr masterminded after learning his parents were planning to retire and cut him off financially.
Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword imposed an automatic life sentence with possibility of parole after 51 years for each of the murder counts.
A sentencing hearing will be held on November 19 to determine if the defendant’s life terms should run consecutively, which would mean that Guy Jr will spend the rest of his days behind bars.
The jury returned the guilty verdicts after nearly three hours of deliberations.
Guy Jr, dressed in a dark suit and silver tie, with a plastic shield over his face against the spread of the coronavirus, showed no emotion when the forewoman read the verdicts.
Afterwards, the court heard victim impact statements from Joel and Lisa Guy’s loved ones.
Guy Jr’s half-sisters Chandise Fink (left) and Michelle Tyler (right) delivered emotional victim impact statements after hearing the verdicts
‘They were larger than life,’ Chandise Fink, the couple’s daughter, said of her parents. ‘They loved him. They loved him so much. They loved us all, reported Knoxville News Sentinel.
Fisk thanked law enforcement officials, court officers and jurors for their work, and apologized that they had to see the horrific scenes from inside her parents’ home.
‘I am very sorry that this evil had to come into their life too,’ she said through sobs.
Michelle Tyler, the Guys’ other daughter, said the horror of the murders has impacted her own children, ‘and for that I will never be able to forgive,’ she said, according to WBIR.
During Guy Jr’s four-day trial, the defense presented no evidence and did not call him to the witness stand to testify.
In his closing statement, Guy Jr’s attorney John Halstead argued that not enough DNA testing had been done. He also pointed out that during the Thanksgiving celebration preceding the murders, his client was described as seeming ‘outgoing, friendly and happy.’
Halstead added: ‘That was not a man about to commit a homicide.’
Prosecutor Leslie Nassios countered by arguing that Guy Jr’s unusually cheerful disposition that weekend was all part of the plan.
‘Outgoing, friendly and happy? I bet he was,’ she said. ‘Michelle Tyler told you that was unusual. He was usually distant, keeping to himself. He was getting ready to get what he wanted. He wanted to deflect attention from himself. If he had acted angry … how would that look when their bodies turned up later?’
The prosecution called a string of witnesses and presented extremely graphic evidence against the defendant, including photos of Guy Sr and Lisa’s partially dissolved torsos floating in what has been described as a ‘diabolical stew of human remains.’
Other images and videos documenting the crime scene showed blood splattered all over the victims’ home, Guy Sr’s severed hands, and a large metal stockpot containing his wife’s head boiling on the stove in the kitchen.
The jury heard forensic testimony that revealed Guy Sr was stabbed at least 42 times and his wife at least 31 times, both stabbed in the chest and back.
They suffered deep stab wounds to organs including the kidneys, liver, their lungs and their heart.
Guy Sr had his arms severed at the shoulder, legs at the him and his right foot cut off.
Lisa Guy’s legs were cut off below the knee and her arms, at the shoulder and nine of her ribs were severed.
Dr. Amy Hawes, who performed autopsies on both of them, testified they likely died within a ‘few seconds to a few minutes’, according to WBIR.
Once they were dead their arms and legs were cut off and Lisa Guy’s head decapitated.
Those body parts were then placed in two blue tote tubs found on plastic sheeting on the floor of the master bathroom in the upstairs of the family’s Goldenview Lane home in Knoxville.
It appeared that the body parts were immersed in corrosive chemicals such as sewer line cleaner to dissolve their flesh.
One of the knives used in the double homicide is seen in a master bathroom sink in this screenshot from a police walk-through video
The male victim’s clothes are pictured resting next to a pair of knives in the room
A stockpot containing Lisa Guy’s severed head is seen boiling on the stove after her murder
Two plastic containers are pictured inside the home of Joel Guy Sr and Lisa Guy in Tennessee containing the couple’s partially liquifed remains
Hawes revealed that Joel Guy Sr’s head had been reduced to a skeleton due to the chemicals and flesh and melted off his and his wife’s front torsos.
Guy Sr’s cut off hands were discovered on the floor of his exercise room and his wife’s head in a pot of liquid found boiled on the kitchen stove.
Earlier in the trial, jurors heard how Guy Jr had allegedly made meticulous notes about how he would slaughter and dispose of his victims.
‘Douse killing rooms (kitchen?) with bleach,’ one of the bullet points discovered in the notebook reads. ‘Flush chunks down toilet, not garbage disposal … don’t have to get rid of body if no forensic evidence.’
Aligning with the police’s theory that Guy Sr died first, the notes read ‘kill him with the knife… clean up mess from him before she get home.’
The corresponding bullet point reads ‘kill her with a knife’, before instructions to place ‘her’ – to which the police interpret to be Lisa Guy – in the shower and ‘turn on hot water and point at her to get rid of forensics’.
The notebook was reportedly found in a backpack in the guest bedroom where Guy Jr. had
Prosecutors reiterated in closing arguments Thursday the notebook scrawled with instructions on how to murder the Guys and evidence showed Guy Jr followed those instructions in the murders, as per WVLT.
The notes said ‘turn heater as high as it goes to speed decomposition,’ and prosecutors noted that the thermostat in the house was turned to 90 degrees.
Deputies performed a welfare check entered the Guys’ home in West Knox County, Tennessee, on November 28, 2016, and discovered body parts strewn throughout
On Tuesday jurors heard how Guy Jr had allegedly made meticulous notes about how he would slaughter and dispose of his victims. This page in the notebook said: ‘Get Knives – quite – multiple. Get carving knives to make small pieces. Get sledgehammer – crush bones’
Another page shows details of the ‘assets’ belonging to Lisa Guy including a $500,000 life insurance policy that lists Guy Jr as a beneficiary
However, the defense argued that no DNA or fingerprints were found on the pages of the notebook and suggested that it may not belong to Guy Jr.
Prosecutors said that the writing contained information only Guy Jr would know, such as details of his mother’s life insurance policy.
One page shows details of the ‘assets’ belonging to Lisa Guy including a $500,000 life insurance policy that lists Guy Jr as a beneficiary.
‘$500,000 would be all mine,’ the page read. ‘With him missing/dead, I get the whole thing.’
According to the prosecution, Guy Jr’s motive for the savage double homicide was financial because his parents had been planning to stop giving him money.
Guy was reportedly studying to be a plastic surgeon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and had been in college for nine years while his parents supported him.
The couple, who both worked as engineers, were ready to retire and stop providing him with assistance.
Joel Guy Jr. is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder, and two counts of abuse of a corpse.
Over the course of the four-day trial 27 witnesses were called to testify in the case and hundreds of exhibits were shown to the jury.
In the state of Tennessee, a conviction on first-degree murder charges triggers automatic sentencing of life in prison for each count.
At the start of the trial guy Jr said he didn’t want a lawyer and wanted the death penalty. The state, however, is not seeking the death penalty.