Man accused of dismembering parents over Thanksgiving weekend waives jury punishment, allows judge to rule for death penalty if convicted
Knox County
Joel Michael Guy Jr. is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of abuse of a corpse and one count of felony murder.

By Gregory Raucoules, WATE

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) -- A 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, Sept. 15, 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.

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.

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

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.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said Joel Michael Guy Jr., 28 at the time, was arrested on November 29, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and charged with killing his parents, 61-year-old Joel Michael Guy Sr. and 55-year-old Lisa Guy at their home, located at 11434 Goldenview Lane in West Knox County.

Both victims suffered vicious stab wounds and were dismembered, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. The couple's remains were found in multiple rooms in the house. The suspect 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 a hazardous-materials team.

Guy Jr. was visiting from his home in Baton Rouge, and he and his three sisters spent Thanksgiving with their parents, the sheriff's office said. Guy was arrested three days later at his apartment complex in Baton Rouge.

In June, Sixth Judicial District Judge Steven Sword ruled ruled that evidence seized at Guy’s Louisiana apartment will not be admissible in the case. Evidence seized at the Knox County scene of the crime can still be used at trial. Sword ruled a search warrant failed to establish close connection between the alleged crimes in Knox County, Guy’s apartment in Baton Rouge and the items to be seized, WATE reports.