After a series of recent motions including one to seek a delay of trial due to COVID and another that tried to grant the judge the right to assign the death penalty should he be found guilty of first degree murder, the trial of 32-year-old Joel Guy Jr is scheduled to begin later today.
On September 22, two days before the jury selection was slated to begin, Guy filed a surprise motion in court seeking to serve as his own lawyer. His main complaint, as revealed by Knox Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword, was that he wished to have the death penalty pursued if he was found guilty of first degree murder instead of leaving sentencing up to the jury. Throughout the proceedings though, Guy has maintained his innocence.
"Is that really what you're concerned with?" Sword was quoted by Knox News as asking Guy during a hearing on Wednesday.
Under Tennessee state law, prosecutors have sole discretion on whether or not to seek the death penalty as punishment and only a jury can impose it. Assistant District Attorney General Leslie Nassios has confirmed that the prosecution has no intention of seeking the death penalty but instead are seeking life with the possibility of parole - with a mandatory 51-year prison term.
"There's nothing I can do to assist you in having them pursue that," Sword stated. "You've done all you can to open that door for the state. I can't force them to do it, and neither can you."
Guy is charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of abuse of a corpse, and one count of felony murder.
In 2016 sometime between Friday November 25 and Saturday, November 26, Joel Guy Sr, 61, and Lisa Guy, 55, were brutally stabbed and then dismembered. Guy Sr was reportedly stabbed more than 40 times and Lisa had 31 stab wounds to her back and buttocks.
Parts of their bodies were found scattered throughout the house with Lisa;s head reportedly discovered in a pot of boiling liquid on the stove, while Guy Sr's hands were located on the floor of the bedroom, and the couple's torsos were found in plastic containers in the bathroom.
Guy Jr allegedly "placed portions of the remains in an acid based solution in an attempt to destroy evidence. The toxic fluid required specific bio-hazard equipment for removal by the KCSO Hazmat Team," The Knox County Sheriff's Office stated at the time.
Guy Jr was arrested a short time later outside of his apartment in Baton Rouge. The attack is said to have been the result of his parents telling him that they would no longer pay for his education.