The trial is under way for a Tennessee man accused of killing his parents, dismembering their bodies and leaving behind what prosecutors referred to as a “diabolical stew of human remains.”
Joel Guy Jr. is accused of murdering his parents, Joel Guy Sr., 61, and Lisa Guy, 55, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2016, allegedly because they’d grown tired of paying his bills and planned to cut him off financially.
Attorney Leslie Nassios said on the trial’s opening day on Monday that the crime was so gruesome, deputies had a “physical reaction” to the odor in the home. Deputies found Lisa Guy’s severed head in a boiling pot on the stove and found many of the victims’ limbs in 45-gallon containers filled with a corrosive substance designed to liquify the remains, WVLT reports.
“(It was) the most horrific thing I’ve ever encountered in police work—in my life,” Knox County Sheriff’s Office Det. Jeremy McCord said of the grisly scene, according to The Knoxville News.
According to prosecutors, Guy Jr. had detailed his gruesome plans to eliminate his parents in a notebook that included reminders of what he’d need to carry out the brutal task, including “killing knives” and “carving knives” so that he could cut up the bodies in “small pieces,” local station WBIR reports.
He also planned to have a sledge hammer to “crush bones,” Nassios told the jury.
Before the slayings took place, Guy Jr.—who was a 28-year-old unemployed college student at the time—enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with his parents and his three sisters in what his family members have described as an uneventful holiday, the paper reports.
His sisters returned home after the meal, but Guy Jr. stayed behind.
Authorities believe he first attacked his father on Saturday Nov. 28, 2016 in an upstairs exercise room of the home while his mother was out shopping.
Nassios told jurors that the engineering designer “fought for his life” and had 42 sharp-force injuries, WVLT reports. The attack had been so brutal that 12 marks were left on his ribs, completely severing some of them. He suffered damage to his lungs, liver and kidneys, according to an autopsy report.
Guy Sr.’s hands had been severed at the wrists. His arms were removed at the shoulder blade and his legs removed at the hip, according to court records.
When Lisa Guy returned to the home later that afternoon, prosecutors believe Guy Jr. stabbed her, sending her groceries flying to the floor.
She was stabbed 31 times and suffered 21 severe injuries, including severed ribs and stab wounds to her buttocks. After she was killed, authorities believe Guy Jr. cut her clothes off and dismembered her body, removing her legs below the knee, her arms at the shoulder and removing her head through blunt force trauma.
The couple’s limbs were later found in the 45-gallon containers in what prosecutors described as a “diabolical stew of human remains.”
Prosecutors believe that during the brutal attacks, Guy Jr. injured his hands and eventually decided to leave his parents’ home to return to his Baton Rouge home on Sunday Nov. 27, 2016 to get treated for his injuries, WBIR reports.
The dismembered bodies of the couple—who had been married for 31 years—were discovered after Lisa Guy failed to show up for work and her bosses called the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a welfare check at the home.
McCord testified in court Monday that upon entering the home, he found blood everywhere and could smell the stench of death mixed with peroxide, bleach, acid and rubbing alcohol, which were found in the home, the paper reports.
Family members testified that before his death Joel Guy Sr. had been planning to retire and intended to cut off the son he and his wife had been financially supporting for years.
They had already sold their Knox County home and had been planning to move to Rogersville, Tennessee.
Investigators believe their decision to financially cut off their son may have prompted the killing. Guy Jr. also allegedly believed he may benefit financially from their deaths. In one section of his notebook, he had allegedly written “assets” and detailed how he planned to hide his father’s body and then inherit his mother’s $500,000 life insurance policy.
“All mine,” he allegedly wrote, according to WBIR.
Guy Jr. has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges against him and is not offering a mental health defense, the local station reports.
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said prosecutors do not plan to seek the death penalty in the case, but did not specify why that decision was made.
“Ethical rules prohibit the District Attorney’s Office from commenting on pending cases,” spokesman Sean McDermott said in an email to the paper.
The trial is expected to continue Tuesday.