November 26, 2016
Lisa and Joel Guy are killed, dismembered, and partially dissolved by their son
Warning: The following article contains graphic details. Discretion is advised.
Lisa and Joel Sr. were last seen alive during Thanksgiving dinner with their adult children on November 25. They were suspected to have been killed on the afternoon of November 26.
Lisa’s boss became concerned when she did not arrive to work after the holiday weekend. The boss attempted to call the Guys’ home but received no answer. Deputies were called and asked to perform a welfare check on the couple, though responding deputies did not find anything out of the ordinary from outside the home and could investigate no further. Lisa’s boss was insistent something was wrong and the deputies returned to the home, at which point they looked inside and found signs of violence, which allowed them to enter the house.
The deputies reportedly had an immediate “physical reaction” upon entering the house. The house’s thermostat was set to 90ºF (32ºC). Heaters had also been plugged in, raising the temperature inside the home to 93ºF (34ºC). Additionally, a pervasive smell of chemicals, accompanied by a foul odor, wafted through the home. One of the deputies said he felt his forehead tingle from chemicals in the air while Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeremy McCord stated, “The smell is never going to leave me.”
While investigating the home, deputies found the dismembered remains of the Guys. Most of their extremities and both torsos were found in large plastic storage containers in a homemade acid bath concoction created from various corrosive liquids, including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, drain cleaner, and sewer line cleaner, creating what prosecutors later called a “diabolical stew of human remains.” Other body parts were found scattered throughout multiple rooms in the home, including Joel Sr.’s hands found in an exercise room and Lisa’s head which had been left boiling in a pot. The stove was still on when deputies arrived at the scene.
The Guys’ autopsies revealed both had died from “vicious” stab wounds. Joel Sr. had been stabbed 42 times which damaged his lungs, liver, and kidneys. He also had 12 marks to his ribs, some of which were scratch marks while others cut the ribs in half. His hands had been severed at the wrist, his arms at the shoulder blade, his legs at the hip, and his right foot at the ankle. Lisa had been stabbed 31 times, leaving 9 of her ribs severed during the attack. Her legs were severed below the knee and her arms at the shoulders. She had also been decapitated by blunt force trauma applied to her neck.
The Guys’ son, 28-year-old Joel Guy Jr., was arrested outside his Baton Rouge, Louisiana apartment on November 29, the day after the discovery of his parents’ bodies. He was then charged with their murders.
Investigators suspected the motive behind the killings was financial. Joel Jr. had never been employed and had spent 9 years as a college student. During this time, his parents were paying for his bills though the Guys had spoken to their other children about their plans to discuss with Joel Jr. their decision to discontinue their financial support and instead focus on their own retirements.
Prosecutors contended Joel Jr. premeditated his parents’ murders and dismemberment. They showed the court receipts and surveillance footage of Joel Jr. purchasing items from five different hardware and home goods stores beginning on November 7, including a blender, plastic tubs, and a food processor. One of Joel Jr.’s sisters also remembered seeing the plastic tubs — which were later used in the attempt to dissolve her parents’ bodies — in the back of Joel Jr.’s car.
The prosecution also presented a 5-page handwritten list which Court TV reported “read like a to-do list for murder.” The passages included comments such as “get killing knives,” “flush chunks down toilet, not garbage disposal,” “body gives time of death, alibi,” “kill him with knife, “kill her with knife,” and “bring blender and food grinder. Grind meat.” The notes also suggested financial motivation, with one entry reading, “her assets, her life insurance 500K possibly more,” and “Money all mine. I get the whole thing.”
Assistant Knox County District Attorney Hector Sanchez told jury Joel Jr.’s plan had also included using a sledgehammer to destroy his parents’ bones before burning down the house to destroy as much evidence as possible. He suggested the plans were changed after Joel Jr. received cuts to his hands during the attack on his parents.
Joel Jr.’s defense team asked witnesses few questions and provided no evidence to prove their client’s innocence, though they did argue more DNA testing could have been performed by the prosecution. Instead, they relied heavily on Joel Jr.’s personality, especially what he had exhibited toward his sisters, who had previously mentioned nothing seemed amiss between their brother and parents during the Thanksgiving dinner. “This was not a man about to commit a homicide,” the defense told the jury.
The prosecution used this line against the defense in their closing argument. “Outgoing, friendly, and happy? I bet he was,” Assistant Knox County District Attorney Leslie Nassios told the jury. “[His sister] 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.”
Judge Steve Sword, who presided over the trial, called the murder “pure evil overkill.” Of Joel Jr., Judge Sword said, “I don’t see potential for rehabilitation of Mr. Guy. I was watching him during the trial, he showed absolutely no remorse or despair over at seeing what he had done. Quite frankly, Mr. Guy, you look like you’re kind of proud of what you’ve accomplished.”
Joel Jr. was convicted of all 7 charges against him: 2 counts of first-degree premeditated murder, 3 counts of felony murder, and 2 counts of abuse of a corpse. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.
“Man sentenced for brutal slayings, dismemberment of parents.” Court TV. November 23, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.courttv.com/news/man-sentenced-guilty-of-brutal-slayings-dismemberment-of-parents/
Crocker, Brittany. “Joel Guy Jr. gets two life sentences – one after the other – in parents’ murders.” Knox News. November 19, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2020/11/19/joel-guy-jr-two-life-sentences-killing-parents-tennessee/3764870001/
Bonvillian, Crystal. “Life in prison: Joel Guy Jr. convicted of brutal 2016 murders, dismemberment of parents.” KIRO. October 13, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/joel-guy-jr-convicted-brutal-2016-murders-dismemberment-parents-sentenced-life/BTNFVSY5UZCZZCACURKUTCJE7E/
Satterfield, Jamie. “Joel Guy Jr. convicted of killing and dismembering his parents.” Knox News. October 2, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2020/10/02/joel-guy-jr-convicted-killing-and-dismembering-parents/5879895002/
“Joel Guy Jr. Trial, Day Three: Before visiting his parents, Guy bought numerous items used in their killings.” WBIR. September 30, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.wbir.com/article/news/crime/joel-guy-trial-day-three-parents-were-victims-of-ferocious-attack/51-92d63b98-bf60-4491-8e04-85d8ba4381d7
Bonvillian, Crystal. “‘Diabolical stew of human remains’: Graphic details mark start of man’s trial in parents’ 2016 murders.” KIRO. September 29, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/diabolical-stew-human-remains-graphic-details-highlight-start-mans-trial-parents-murders/2PEDTSOHF5HVJOE6N342NAUVZE/
Harris, Alivia. “Knox Co. parents found dissolving in ‘diabolical stew of human remains,’ investigators say.” WVLT. September 28, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.wvlt.tv/2020/09/28/live-opening-statements-begin-in-trial-for-man-accused-of-dismembering-parents-at-knox-co-home/
Bonvillian, Crystal. “Police: Man kills parents, dismembers and dissolves bodies in acid after family Thanksgiving dinner.” Boston 25 News. December 2, 2016. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.boston25news.com/news/police-man-kills-parents-dismembers-and-dissolves-bodies-in-acid-after-family-thanksgiving-dinner/472212131/
Jacobs, Don. “Knox sheriff: Son dismembered, dissolved parents in acid.” Knox News. December 1, 2016. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/2016/11/30/sheriff-mum-bodies-w-knox-home/94667600/
Stole, Bryn. “Baton Rouge man accused of killing, dismembering parents in ‘gruesome’ Tennessee slaying.” The Advocate. November 30, 2016. Updated: December 1, 2016. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/crime_police/article_d67b6926-b72e-11e6-b7e1-c36441cc8e27.html
Smith, Rain. “Kingsport native and wife brutally murdered; son arrested.” Times-News. November 29. 2016. Updated: July 5, 2020. Accessed: November 26, 2020. https://www.timesnews.net/news/crime/kingsport-native-and-wife-brutally-murdered-son-arrested/article_ff21783d-bcb7-5cf6-82d8-0441fd52adff.html