Joel Michael Guy Jr. is serving consecutive life sentences after being convicted of killing and dismembering his parents, Joel Michael Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy at their West Knox County home during Thanksgiving weekend 2016. Authorities searched the residence and found their remains in multiple rooms. Money is believed to have been the motivating factor.
Guy Jr. and attorney Jonathan Harwell filed the 36-page appeal on Oct. 3 in the Court of Criminal Appeals for Tennessee in Knoxville. In that document, Guy Jr. is appealing a lower court’s decision earlier this year that denied his request for a new trial.
In the appeal, Guy Jr. and his attorney argue that the appeal is driven by two decisions made by law enforcement at the time the bodies of his parents were discovered. First, that law enforcement entered a private residence. Second, accusing law enforcement of being in the residence without a warrant and seizing “dozens of items.”
“The warrant requirement doesn’t disappear merely because a crime scene is horrific,” the introduction to the appeal states.
Guy Jr.’s relationship with the home, where he murdered his parents, hinges at the legal heart of the issues raised in the appeal. Did he have legal standing to object to enter into the house?
The home on Goldenview Lane belonged to Guy Jr.’s parents. However, his attorney argues that Guy Jr. was technically a resident because he was given a key by his mother in 2007 to use when visiting his parents, referring to it as “long-term connections.”
The State argues that Guy Jr. was already being suspected of homicidal acts in the residence so he has no standing to object. Officers reported smelling the “odor of decomposition” from the back porch, which was the reason for entering the residence without a warrant.
However, Guy Jr.’s attorney argues that the warrant was needed, regardless.
The State responded by contending that all the evidence was in “plain view” and thus lawfully seized by subsequently-arriving officers. They also believe that Guy Jr. stopped being an overnight guest when he left the residence to receive medical treatment in Louisiana.
“The State nonetheless suggests that overnight-guest status ends when a defendant steps outside of a house, even if he intends to return to the house in short order,” according to the court records.
Guy Jr. concludes the 7,106-word argument by saying the evidence collected at the house should have been suppressed.
A hearing date has not been set.