Knoxville man accused of parents’ murder files motion allowing judge to sentence him to death if convicted

Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The man accused of murdering his parents and dismembering their bodies at their Knox County home in 2016 has filed handwritten motions allowing the judge the option to sentence him to death if convicted despite prosecutors declining to pursue the death penalty.

Joel Guy Jr., 32, filed two handwritten motions Tuesday to Knox County Criminal Court allowing the judge presiding over his sentencing to enact the death penalty if he is convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of Joel Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy. His trial set to start on Sept. 28.

The first motion, if it is accepted, would waive the requirement that the district attorney general files a notice of intent to seek the death penalty.

“In the event that I am eventually found guilty of first-degree murder, I contend that the waiver above, if permitted by the court, would free the court to sentence me to death, imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole or imprisonment for life, in spite of the district attorney general’s failure to satisfy the notice requirements of Rule 12.3(b)”

Joel Guy Jr, motion filing No. 1 to Knox County Criminal Court

In a second filing contingent on the acceptance of the first, Guy Jr. asks the court to allow him to waive his right to have a jury determine punishment if he is found guilty of first-degree murder. This would allow the trial judge to determine the punishment for any first-degree murder convictions.

In Tennessee, the death penalty or life in prison without parole can only be imposed where an aggravating factor has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Guy Jr’s second filing would no longer require the state to specify which of the aggravating circumstances are intended to justify a sentence of death or life in prison without parole and would allow the court or jury to consider aggravated circumstances even if no additional evidence is presented during both the guilt hearing and the sentencing hearing.

“The court is free to consider whether any of the eighteen aggravated circumstances outlined in T.C.A. §39-13-204(e)(1) have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the district attorney general refuses to consent to the waiver requested under T.C.A. §39-13-205(b), the jury is free to consider the same issue.”

Joel Guy Jr, motion filing No. 2 to Knox County Criminal Court

Finally, Guy Jr. asked the court to allow him to waive his right to present evidence of the existence of any mitigating circumstances, such as acting under the control of another person or under duress, for any first-degree murder convictions.

Guy Jr. notes in both motions that neither filing is intended to an admission of guilt.

“Nothing in this filing is intended to be an admission of guilt, nor should its contents be construed as proof of consciousness of guilt.”

Joel Guy Jr.

In 2017, Guy Jr. was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of abuse of a corpse and one count of felony murder.

Knox County Sheriff’s Office said they believe Joel Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy were murdered between Friday, Nov. 25, and Saturday, Nov. 26, at their home on Goldenview Lane. Investigators said both suffered vicious stab wounds, as well as dismemberment.

Their remains were found in multiple rooms in the house. Investigators say portions of the remains were placed in an acid-based solution in an attempt to destroy evidence. 

In June, a Knox County judge ruled evidence seized from the Louisiana apartment of a man accused of killing his parents and trying to destroy their bodies in their Knox County home cannot be used at trial.

You can read Joe Guy Jr.’s motions below:

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