Deliberations expected to begin soon after day 3 of Joel Guy Jr. trial complete
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, entered its third day Wednesday.
WARNING: This case may contain disturbing details.
Watch the LIVE trial below:
Robert King, a special agent with FBI assigned to the New Orleans Division in 2016, was the first to be called to the stand Wednesday morning. The officer assisted in the arrest of Joel Guy Jr.
During Guy’s arrest in Nov. 2016, there were Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputies and one Louisiana State University campus officer. Joel Guy Jr. was extradited back to Knox County in Jan. 2017.
King spoke in the courtroom without the jury because the state didn’t want the details being reviewed to lead the jury to a judgment that is not fair.
The defense believed some evidence, including security footage from Louisiana big box stores, was not admissible because of the way it was collected.
Gerry Coleman was the second witness to take the stand Wednesday. Coleman was on the FBI Violent Crimes taskforce in Louisiana. He assisted Knox County with the case in 2016.
State Assistant District Attorney Leslie Nassios called Coleman on the stand to discuss Louisiana security tapes that are in question. The jury had not returned to the courtroom at this point.
Following a short recess, the judge determined the video was authentic and proper to be allowed in court despite the absence of an affidavit.
Edward Wassman, who also took the stand on Tuesday, returned for more questions regarding technology found at the scene.
Scott Henning, a homicide investigator at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office took the stand. Henning was present for Guy’s arrest on November 29, 2016.
Henning identified photos that were taken during Guy’s booking in Baton Rouge. The images showed injuries to Guy’s right thumb and right hand at the time of the arrest.
Henning testified that Guy’s arms and upper legs had scratches and there was some bruising on Guy’s back and upper arms when he was arrested. Photos of the interior of Guy’s vehicle were shown and explained by Henning. Images showed a meat grinder and a gas can in the trunk of what the state is trying to prove was Guy’s car.
The jury was called in shortly after 10 a.m.
Gerry Coleman, an FBI New Orleans Violent Crimes Task Force agent, took the stand again, this time in front of jurors. He testified that Joel Guy Jr. was seen on surveillance video purchasing items at a Louisiana Ace Hardware store.
Robert King, a retired FBI agent of 22 years, took the stand, this time in front of jurors, and testified that he saw Joel Guy Jr. purchasing items at a Louisiana Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
Michael McCracken, Joel Guy Jr.'s former roommate, and best friend took the stand. McCracken said he lived with Guy at a boarding school they attended called Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts, a school for exceptional students.
McCracken said he never met Guy’s father and only met Guy’s mother one time over the course of their ten-year relationship. McCracken said no family members ever called or sent letters to Guy except his mother.
McCracken described Guy as “socially awkward." He said as Guy got older he became more withdrawn.
“There were weeks where you would barely see him at all," McCracken said.
McCracken said Guy had friends during high school and early college, but by the time McCracken left Baton Rouge, Guy had no friends at all and was pulling away from McCracken as well.
A portion of a phone call from Guy to McCracken was played in the courtroom:
Joel Guy Jr.: “Consider me dead and move on with life. I genuinely want you to be happy...and that’s the end of my outburst."
McCracken: “It hurts my heart... You have been my best friend for my entire adult life, and I don’t know if that will ever change because of what you did... I’m not totally surprised. I don’t know what to say... I’m angry and lost and confused and disappointed and upset, and I’m mourning you like you’re dead even though I’m talking to you on the phone. It’s taking everything I have to process and maintain my sanity."
Joel Guy Jr.: “I think about you all the time. You were the only good thing in my life."
McCracken said Guy had never mentioned that he had any sisters and incorrectly told McCracken that his mother was an optometrist. McCracken said he learned the truth about Guy’s family through a news article.
Kim Lowe, a forensic investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, took the stand and testified that a DNA profile that matched Joel Guy Jr. was found on the handle of a knife.
Dr. Amy Hawes a forensic pathologist took the stand to give her expert opinion on the case.
Dr. Hawes testified that she was working as an assistant medical examiner in Knoxville when the murders occurred in 2016 and she was called to the scene. She said her overall goal was to document the relationship of bodies present to any other evidence at the scene through photographs.
Dr. Hawes said she observed multiple rooms in the home that seemed to be involved as part of the crime scene. There were many chemicals and blood spots scattered throughout the home and various body parts scattered across multiple rooms.
Dr. Hawes said it was very warm inside the house and a very strong chemical odor and a slight odor of decomposition.
The process to remove the bodies from the house was complicated, testified Dr. Hawes.
“It was a very complex process because the remains were not such that we could place them in one body bag," she said. “It was clear from looking at the bins that the chemicals had compromised the integrity of the plastic bins.”
Crews at the scene were concerned about attempting to move the bins with the liquid inside so that was removed first.
“Someone came to drain the fluid into multiple gallon size containers... Then we proceeded to remove the body parts and place them into body bags," said Dr. Hawes,
She said other remains in the house were moved separately. Dr. Hawes continued to describe the condition of the bodies she found through conducting an autopsy.
**WARNING** The details shared in this portion of Dr. Hawes’s testimony are very graphic.
Dr. Hawes testified that Joel Guy Sr.'s head was found completely skeletonized. The skin from most of his body had been completely dissolved by the chemical solution, exposing muscle tissue and bones in some areas. His arms and legs had been removed from his torso.
A portion of skin that did remain on Guy Sr.'s back showed evidence of at least 34 stab wounds. Dr. Hawes also recorded injuries to the liver, lungs, kidneys and ribs.
Dr. Hawes determined his cause of death was sharp force trauma, and the manner of death was determined to be a homicide.
Dr. Hawes testified that the head of Lisa Guy found inside a pot on the stove still had the skin, hair and scalp intact. The skin had “thermal artifacts,” but there was not evidence of the same corrosive liquid from the tubs where the other body parts were found.
Lisa Guy’s torso showed evidence of multiple stab wounds. Her cause of death was determined to be multiple sharp force injuries.
Increased temperature does increase the speed of decomposition, said Dr. Hawes.
When court ended at 5 p.m., the judge said he expected deliberations to begin after lunch on Thursday.
Court is expected to be back in session at 9 a.m. on Thursday. WVLT News will continue live coverage of the case on Facebook and online.
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