KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Joel Guy Jr., who was convicted of murdering and dismembering his parents over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016, was back in a Knox County courtroom Friday for a hearing related to evidence used in his trial.
Criminal Court Clerk Mike Hammond asked Judge Steve Sword to remove the hazardous chemicals currently stored in evidence, used as part of the state’s case against Joel Guy Jr. in September.
Hammond told the court the chemicals are a fire and safety hazard to his employees. One of them, he said, had an adverse reaction after encountering them.
“She had suffered a reaction which caused a severe rash on her feet and arms. That rash lasted about an hour and a half,” Hammond said.
His request to Judge Sword: have the chemicals assessed by a chemical company and then empty the containers, or at the very least, move them out of the evidence vault.
Hammond said if they are required to keep the containers as they are, they need to be moved. He provided photos of the containers with the chemicals to the court.
“I’m at the point now, where I really don’t feel like I can send anyone down there until we take care of this,” Hammond said.
Another suggestion was to move them into a secure area in the garage of the City-County Building or put into other more secure containers. Right now, according to Hammond, at least one container is leaking.
Assistant District Attorney Leslie Nassios, who prosecuted the case against Joel Guy Jr., said that samples could be taken from the containers.
Guy Jr.’s attorney, Mark Stephens, shared concerns about disposing of the chemicals altogether.
“Mr. Guy will be appealing and hoping for a retrial in this matter and so he did not want to give up any rights, by agreeing that something could be disposed of but then maybe it becomes critical in trial what was in that at a new trial, and yet, we’ve allowed it to be disposed,” Stephens said.
Judge Sword said Hammond’s concerns were “well founded.” Sword filed a Dangerous Exhibit Order November 6th, the same day he heard Hammond’s concerns in the courtroom.
“It certainly is a unique situation,” Sword said.
The court ordered that the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk contact the proper agency, such as the Knox County Sold Waste Administrative Office or the Knoxville City Waste and Resources Office to properly dispose of the substances.
A small sample of the chemicals will be saved in a sealed container for any future tests. The original containers will be kept, along with the samples, by Hammond’s office.
Hammond will also provide the court with a record of who is responsible for disposing of, what the court calls, dangerous materials.
Guy Jr. will be sentenced on the remaining charges November 19th.