ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) -
A man convicted in the brutal slayings of his father and stepmother in Carrsville has been sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison.
Joseph Joyner, Jr., known as Jay, entered an Alford plea Wednesday afternoon, meaning he does not admit to killing the victims, but admits the prosecution could likely prove the charges against him.
Those charges included robbery and capital murder of multiple persons. Because the case involved capital murder, Joyner's attorney Sonny Stallings said the Alford plea would have spared his life.
On a sunny April afternoon, the body of Sandy Joyner was discovered inside her home along Walters Highway in Isle of Wight County. Hours later, with the help of a helicopter from the Virginia State Police, her husband Joe's body was located in the wooded area behind the home.
Sandy died from severe blunt force trauma while Joe died of a close-range gunshot wound to the head.
The Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office later arrested and charged Joe's son Jay Joyner on two counts of first degree murder in connection to the deaths. Deputies said they found evidence linking Jay to the murders and witnesses claimed to have seen him near the Blackwater River where the murder weapon was found.
"I think a lot of defendants don't want to face the evidence and face the fact that they could be guilty of this offense and that was his mindset," Stallings told WAVY.com. "He knew in his mind that he would be found guilty and he knew he could face the death penalty. So therefore, this was a, I hate to say it, this was a win of sorts for the defendant. But it really wasn't."
While the acceptance of an Alford plea does mean Joyner is a convicted killer, not everyone is happy with the way the case ended.
"The Alford plea portion of it, though, does bother me to a certain extent because in my mind I know that he was guilty," Sheriff Mark Marshall of the Isle of Wight County told WAVY.com after the hearing. "Jay knows that he was guilty. And in some respects, because he does the Alford, he not only is a convicted murderer, he's also a liar."
In December, Joyner was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine if he was capable of standing trial.
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