‘This is just a pure act of evil’: Joel Guy Jr. to serve consecutive life sentences for gruesome 2016 Thanksgiving murders

Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A man convicted of the murder and dismemberment of his parents at their Knox County home in 2016 will spend two consecutive life sentences in prison.

In October, Joel Guy Jr. was convicted on all seven charges: two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse.

His parents, Joel Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy were found dismembered in their West Knoxville home four years ago, during Thanksgiving weekend.

Thursday, Guy Jr. was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for the first-degree murder charges. Then, an additional life sentence was handed down, to be served consecutively plus four years for the two counts of abuse of a corpse.

Knox County judge Steven Sword said it was the most extreme form of abuse of a corpse he has seen during his 25-year career.

“This was a pure act of evil. It was done in an untelligible way. I think that’s what would bother Mr. Guy the most, me saying he’s unintelligible,” said Sword.

Sword said Guy Jr. showed no remorse for his actions during the trial and even appeared ‘proud’ of what he had done.

“My family is now stronger than ever”

Before handing down consecutive life sentences, Joel Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy’s grandson spoke to the court and shared a victim impact statement.

He shared how life has changed for his entire family, including his mother and his brothers.

“After the day that my Papaw died, that I looked up to like a dad, I knew that life would never be the same. That you can’t even trust your own family, that you have to watch your back with everyone around you,” said Preston.

He continued with anecdotes about what his “Papaw” is missing: his brothers graduations, his mother and aunt’s weddings.

“Yes, all of our lives have been changed and there is hate, and many tears that I can’t even cry anymore. I believe with my whole heart they are in a better place together,” he said, “but what I can tell you is that my family is now stronger than ever.”

He is not the first family member to share how they were impacted by these crimes. Multiple family members shared in October, 2020 at the end of Guy Jr.’s trial, before automatic sentencing on the first-degree murder charges.

“A very horrific, gruesome case”

WATE 6 On Your Side Legal Analyst Greg Isaacs said the case is, “an unfortunate footnote to our criminal justice system,” because it is hard to grasp how a human can act in a “depraved manner.”

He said is was no surprise that Guy Jr. received the maximum sentence on all counts, because of the amount of evidence and the horrific nature of the crimes.

“Here is somebody that, in a very premeditated fashion, planned to kill his parents, there was no insanity defense set forth…the system worked,” said Isaacs.

Guy Jr.’s attorney, John Halstead, said Thursday they would be appealing and filling for a new trial. Isaacs said that’s expected. As part of that process, Isaacs says, appellate lawyers could be looking at the trial for errors — as part of that review.

Guilty on all counts

During the four-day trial in October, prosecutors Leslie Nassios and Hector Sanchez introduced hundreds of pieces of evidence and dozens of witnesses to support the case that Guy Jr. planned to kill and dismember his parents, motivated by financial gain.

One of the key pieces of evidence was a notebook filled with details of the murders. The notebook, according to state prosecutors, is proof that Guy Jr. was motivated by a 500K insurance plan, of which, he was the beneficiary.

The state also introduced a handwritten letter in which Guy Jr. wrote about his fantasies of gouging out the eyes of a fellow inmate, six days after his trial.

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