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Judge asked to suppress evidence seized in Joel Guy murder case

Guy Jr. is accused of killing his parents and cutting up their bodies during a Thanksgiving Weekend visit in 2016.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A Knox County judge said Tuesday he'll review and rule this summer on efforts to suppress evidence taken from the backpack and apartment of a man accused of murdering his parents and cutting up their bodies.

Lawyers for Joel M. Guy Jr. argue Knox County authorities improperly took his backpack and accessed his Louisiana apartment after his parents Joel and Lisa Guy were found dead in their Goldenview Lane home Nov. 28, 2016.

Someone had cut up their bodies and tried to dissolve them with chemicals. One victim's head was found in a pot on the stove in the kitchen, according to court records.

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Guy Jr., now 32, lived in Baton Rouge, La., but had been visiting for Thanksgiving. His parents were ready to cut off financial support for the longtime student, a fact that angered him, prosecutors allege.

After spending Thanksgiving with his parents in the home as well as the following day, investigators think he murdered his parents on Saturday, Nov. 26. Authorities found evidence that suggests Lisa Guy had just returned to the home from shopping when she was killed.

The elder Guys were in the process of selling the home.

Guy, held in jail since discovery of the bodies, appeared Tuesday in court before Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword in a dark suit and shoes. He listened quietly as lawyers argued his case.

He's represented by a team of lawyers from the Knox County Public Defender's Office as well as former Public Defender Mark Stephens. The state is not seeking the death penalty against him.

Defense attorney Jonathan Harwell told Sword detectives were wrong to take Guy's backpack, found in an upstairs room of the home after the killings. It contained, among other things, a notebook with writing that alluded to the crimes.

The defense also argues Louisiana police, acting at the behest and direction of the Knox County Sheriff's Office, prepared flawed documents to search and seize items from Guy's Baton Rouge apartment.

Inside the apartment were receipts for chemicals that could be used to dissolve the bodies.

Credit: WBIR
Joel Guy Jr. appeared Tuesday at a court hearing.

Harwell said Guy had claim to the room where the backpack was found. He said deputies shouldn't have taken the backpack and had no legal reason to go through it and read the contents of his notebook, which included "things that were written related to this incident."

He argues the search warrant prepared by Louisiana police to go into Guy's apartment failed to show a direct link between Guy and the crimes in Knox County.

Knox County prosecutor Leslie Nassios, however, insisted that Guy had no claim to the room in the house and was merely a visitor, not a resident. He also had "abandoned" the house and all that was in it, leaving the house off Lovell Road at some point during the weekend and giving up on an effort to go back to it a day or two later.

Nassios said it was inevitable that Knox County authorities would also be looking into any possible evidence in the Baton Rouge apartment as part of their investigation.

Guy left Knox County at some point during the weekend to get treatment in Baton Rouge for cuts to his hands. He has claimed he then turned around to come back to Knox County but gave up Nov. 28 when he arrived and saw the house surrounded by crime scene tape.

By then deputies had discovered the victims.

Judge Bob McGee, now retired, has ruled on at least some defense motions to suppress evidence taken related to the killings. There's debate on whether he's ruled on everything sought to be withheld by the defense.

That's why Sword is now considering the case. He assumed control over it when McGee retired in December.

The Tennessee Supreme Court also is considering a request to suppress some evidence.

Guy is set to be tried Sept. 28.