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Joel Guy Jr. Trial, Day Three: Before visiting his parents, Guy bought numerous items used in their killings

Guy, now 32, is accused of killing his parents over Thanksgiving Weekend 2016 in their West Knox County house. Prosecutors suggest he'd planned it for weeks.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Editor's note: Watch full coverage of the Joel Guy Jr. trial

Joel Guy shopped for corrosive chemicals, big blue totes, even a Ka-Bar knife in the days before he drove from Louisiana to spend what would be his last Thanksgiving with his parents, testimony Wednesday showed.

Starting Nov. 7, 2016, he stopped at a hardware store for chemicals and made repeat stops to big box stores like Home Depot near his Baton Rouge, La., area home, current and former FBI agents testified in Knox County Criminal Court. He bought the knife at an Academy Sports, testimony showed.

To buttress their case, Knox County prosecutors Leslie Nassios and Hector Sanchez presented security videos from the time period showing Guy making the purchases.

Nassios and Sanchez say the then 28-year-old plotted for weeks how to kill Joel Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy in their Hardin Valley area home.

By the time he drove up Nov. 23, 2016, from Baton Rouge to Knox County, he had most of what he needed, evidence shows, including multiple knives, chemicals he expected would dissolve his parents' body parts and the bins he'd need to hold them, the prosecution alleges. Various items he bought in Louisiana were discovered in the house following the killings.

Authorities think Guy killed his parents two days after Thanksgiving, cut them up and then decided to make an unplanned trip back to Louisiana to get treatment for cuts he received while committing the crimes.

Also Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from Homicide Lt. Scott Henning, of Baton Rouge Parish, who took part in Guy's arrest Nov. 29, 2016.

Henning narrated as still photos taken of Guy at police headquarters that day were shown to the jury.

Guy had numerous scratches on his hands and upper legs, a long slice to the inside of his left thumb and a cut to his right thumb, Henning said. He also had heavy bruising on his right arm, Henning said.

Best friends

Also Wednesday, jurors got some insight into Guy from one of the few people who may have known him socially for any amount of time.

Nassios summoned Michael McCracken to the stand Wednesday after lunch. He and Guy became friends when both were in boarding school in Louisiana as teens.  They later became roommates at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

McCracken now lives in the Washington, D.C. area and works as a virus researcher for the U.S. Army.

McCracken testified he got a call from Joel Guy, in Knox County custody, in December 2016, not long after the murders. He said Guy had been his best friend.

On the call, Guy sounds like a man saying farewell to someone he loves.

In the portion of the recorded call played for jurors, McCracken acknowledged he'd done something terrible that would permanently change his life.

Guy said, "I haven’t been an albatross around your neck before, but I certainly would be now."

He went on to say, "I think you should probably consider me dead."

Guy also said he probably would never be happy anymore in his life and that he wanted McCracken "to be happy."

"I think about you all the time. You were the only good thing in my life. All the crap in that apartment...you're the only thing I'll miss."

McCracken testified he'd heard about the crimes through a news article.

He also said he'd known Guy's mother supported him completely financially but wasn't aware until reading the article that Guy had three half-sisters.

McCracken couldn't recall ever seeing Guy's father and said he'd met Guy's mother once. He also testified Guy was socially awkward and ended up with no friends by 2015.

He spent days at a time in his room off by himself, he said. He even began to drift away from McCracken, he said.

As McCracken left the room, Guy followed his every move, swiveling around in his chair in the courtroom to watch as McCracken walked out the door.

Unforgettable scene

On Tuesday afternoon, Knox County Sheriff's Office Detective Jeremy McCord testified that he led officers into the Guy home on a welfare check Nov. 28, 2016.

With each step, the scene grew stranger and stranger, McCord told Knox County jurors Tuesday.

"I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into," the detective said.

The Guys' wallets sat on a kitchen table along with a hammer and cellphone. Still, no one responded to officers' shouts. Groceries were strewn at the foot of the stairs leading up to the second floor.

Someone had set the heat in the house as high as it would go -- to more than 90 degrees. An odd chemical smell wafted throughout the house on Goldenview Lane, McCord said.

When officers started up the stairs, they realized they were going to find something bad. Blood spatters stained the carpet and walls. A pile of clothes sat on the landing, along with chemical tubs and a knife.

Further down the hall, officers could see a pair of human hands on the floor of a room the family used for exercising.

"It's gut-wrenching," McCord said Tuesday. "It's something that I've never experienced before in a crime scene."

Moments later, he'd spot the dismembered remains of residents Guy Sr. and Lisa Guy in two blue tubs in the master bathroom. And after that, officers would discover Lisa Guy's head cooking in a stock pot on the kitchen stove.

Their son, Joel Michael Guy Jr., 32, is accused of murdering his parents over Thanksgiving Weekend, 2016. He wanted their money to live on, and they were ready to cut off their longtime financial support of him because they wanted to retire, prosecutors allege.

Guy lived in Baton Rouge, La., where he'd attended Louisiana State University for years. He rarely came up to the Knoxville area to visit, family members testified Monday, preferring to stay to himself at his Baton Rouge apartment.

The trial started Monday in Knox County Criminal Court. It's expected to go throughout the week.

Testimony resumed Wednesday.

One key aspect that jurors still must hear: the "ferocity" of the attacks against the elder Guys, according to the state. 

Personnel at the Regional Forensic Center are expected to testify they gathered the various body parts from the tubs and set about organizing them as they once were in life.

They also documented the numerous slashes and gouges the victims suffered -- to the back, shoulder, chest and buttocks.

An autopsy showed Joel Guy suffered more than 40 stab wounds; his wife had 31.

Joel Guy Sr. also suffered multiple wounds to his hands as he tried to defend himself. Why the killer decided to leave the father's hands sitting on the exercise room floor hasn't not been explained.

The killer appeared to use multiple knives and surprised the Guys as they went about their day. After stabbing them to death, Guy allegedly removed all their clothes and then cut them up limb by limb in their own master bathroom.

Much of Tuesday was taken up with testimony from forensic specialists who processed the Guy home, collected bags and bags of evidence and examined it all for clues. Four metal cages sit in the back of Judge Steve Sword's courtroom, holding what was seized in the case.

Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword is presiding.

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