‘I will never get those smells out of my head:’ First responder recalls what he found at Knox County house of horror
WARNING: This case may contain disturbing details.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The trial for Joel Guy Jr., the man accused of dismembering his parents in a home in the Hardin Valley area of Knox County over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2016, resumed Tuesday morning.
WARNING: This case contains disturbing details.
Day one of the trial concluded just before 5 p.m. Monday. Click here to see details and testimony revealed during day one.
To begin day two of the trial, Andrew Wise, a Turkey Creek Walmart employee took the stand. Wise is one of the few witnesses listed by the state from retail stores that are expected to testify including employees from Academy Sports and Home Depot.
Surveillance video showed Joel Guy Jr. entering the Walmart on Nov. 26 purchasing blue totes days before the murder. Wise said he recounted seeing Joel Guy Jr. checking out just after noon on Nov. 26 and using a self-checkout later that same day.
Crime scene expert, Officer Sandy Campbell, returned to the stands Tuesday morning. Campbell said she took video and photos of the home where Joel Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy were discovered.
Campbell first reviewed evidence of the pot that was on the stove that contained Lisa Guy’s severed head. She removed the pot from the evidence box to show jurors along with a pink cellphone, an empty Oxycodone prescription bottle, Joel Guy Jr.'s wallet and Lisa Guy’s wallet that were found in the home.
Prosecutors said evidence collected from the home also includes a pair of gloves, a bleach sprayer, trash bags, several bottles of bleach, a 13.5 lb bag of baking soda and a bottle of muriatic acid.
The judge told jurors a lot of evidence will be presented Tuesday and they will go through the items quickly. The jury will be able to review the items with more time during deliberation.
Blood spatter expert Jeremy Tewalt showed images of the extent of blood splatter throughout the house which forensic investigators took measurements of to make determinations about how the parents were killed.
A latent fingerprint expert from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office took the stand. He introduced himself as Mr. Park. He testified that he collected fingerprints from the scene at Goldenview Lane, including a palm print from the upstairs bathroom.
Park reported finding a possible match to the print in a Federal Bureau of Investigation database, but could not say for certain whether that implicated Guy Jr. had any involvement in previous criminal activity.
Thomas Finch, an officer retired from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office later took the stand. Finch testified that he was trained in advanced palm print identification and that he assisted with collecting prints from the scene on Goldenview Lane in 2016.
Finch showed the jury two knives with stains on them and swabs from the upstairs bathroom.
Finch also testified that he examined clothes from the scene and a Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone. The judge clarified that only the physical hardware of the phone was part of the evidence, but not the content inside. “You can look at it, but you can’t turn it on and go through the contents,” said Judge Steven Sword.
The evidence presented by Finch also included first aid items found at the scene and a grocery bag with red-skin potato salad inside.
Finch testified that he lifted several prints from the scene.
Court resumed just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday following a short recess for lunch and Rachel Sandlin of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office took the stand right after.
Prosecutors presented photos that were taken at the scene for Sandlin to review. According to prosecutors, the photos showed the position the knobs on the stove were set to, feces in the living room, a box of latex gloves, credit cards and a purse.
“It was quite a complex scene,” said Sandlin.
Sandlin read over notes from a notebook found in a backpack in the guest bedroom where Guy Jr. was staying according to family. In that contained a plan for the killings and how one would attempt to cover them up in explicit detail.
“Flush chunks down toilet, not garbage disposal,” the notes read. “Don’t have to get rid of body if no forensic evidence.”
Another page shows details of the assets belonging to Lisa Guy including a $500,000 life insurance policy that lists Joel Guy Jr. as a beneficiary.
“$500,000 would be all mine," the page read.
The notebook also included detailed plans for dismembering Lisa and Joel Sr.'s bodies and instructions for heating the house to “accelerate the tissue breakdown.”
One note read, “turn the thermostat as high as it will go.”
A post-it note recovered from inside a suitcase that appeared to belong to Joel Guy Jr. showed the name and store location in Louisiana where the sewer line cleaner found at the scene was purchased.
WATCH: Trial resumes this afternoon for man accused of killing, dismembering parents at Knox Co. home, WARNING: may contain disturbing details https://bit.ly/3jeZX0OPosted by WVLT on Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Edward Wassman, a Knox County Sheriff’s Office investigator said a laptop computer recovered from the bed in the guest room where Guy Jr. was staying was not able to be analyzed because a BitLocker password kept the hard-drive on lockdown. Analysts were unable to bypass the passcode.
A Dell desktop computer was also taken from the scene. Wassman said a bit by bit analysis was conducted on that computer’s hard-drive, according to Wassman.
Wassman said the analysis revealed that there were seven USB drives were plugged into the computer at once. A Google search for sodium percarbonate, the active ingredient in OxyClean was found on the computer.
Wassman said text messages found on a phone in a pink case showed texts were sent and read on November 27, 2016 from LSU’s Bursar Office. The three messages were regarding charges made without the credit card present for approximately $2,000, $1,000 and $1,000. They were signed “Bursar Operations.”
KCSO Detective Jeremy McCord took the stand. He testified and said that he responded to Goldenview Lane after Lisa Guy’s employer was unable to contact her. After deputies were unable to gain entry to the house, McCord reported having an “ominous feeling” as he attempted to gain entry to the house.
After noticing the realtor’s lockbox was missing from the front door, investigators said they located a garage door opener to gain entry.
“As soon as that garage door opened, we immediately felt heat,” said McCord. “Walking through the downstairs of the house, nothing made sense to me," he said. McCord said he remembered noticing that groceries were not properly put away and two people’s wallets were left on a table.
McCord said after he saw what he believed to be blood on the wall, he instructed everyone to put gloves on.
“You can see straight down the hall and I saw hands... not connected to a body. At that point, the other officers held the hallway and we started doing standard building clearing.”
McCord went on to describe how going upstairs “the world does a 180.” He explained how in his eyes everything got turned upside down.
“It’s gut-wrenching and something that I have never experienced before," said McCord. ″I will never get those smells out of my head or my dreams.”
When he entered the master bathroom, the bodycam recording captured his reaction to what he saw there. He said, “oh my God.”
“The only thing I saw were two tubs with what appeared to be body parts liquefying... It was hot in there. Hotter in there than most places,” said McCord.
McCord said a dog locked in a hot bedroom was rescued after it appeared to be very tired and thirsty.
LIVE trial below:
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