Man jailed in dad’s, stepmom’s deaths

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Joseph Charles "Jay" Joyner Jr., in green T-shirt, talks to law-enforcement officers Friday at the home of his father and stepmother. Joyner was charged Monday with killing both. -- Kate Archer | Tidewater News

ISLE OF WIGHT–Joseph Charles “Jay” Joyner Jr., 37, of Courtland was charged today with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his father and stepmother.

Sandra Joyner, 58, was beaten to death in the couple’s Walters Highway Home near Carrsville, and Joe Joyner, 62, was shot to death in the woods on the couple’s 100-acre farm sometime Thursday. Their bodies were found Friday.

Isle of Wight County Sheriff Mark Marshall had no motive for the murders, and it’s unclear who was killed first. Sandra Joyner was beaten to death with an unknown object, and her husband was shot in the head with his own gun at close range.

“We don’t know what caused the blunt force trauma” to Mrs. Joyner, Marshall said. “It could’ve been anything from a hammer to the butt of a gun.”

It’s possible that father and son were hunting at the time of the killing, Marshall said. It is currently spring turkey season.

“His body was dragged into the woods a distance away,” Marshall said, noting Joe Joyner’s body was covered when investigators found him. “It was deep into the woods, very difficult terrain to get to. We went back with a four-wheel-drive Humvee.”

A witness notified police about seeing a man who looked like Jay Joyner park his vehicle on West Blackwater Road over the Blackwater River and throw something into the river, Marshall said. The suspect apparently would take the route to travel from his home to his father’s home.

Investigators on Sunday recovered from the river the gun they believe was used to kill Joe Joyner.

Investigators also developed a number of leads from interviews with witnesses and evidence found at the scene, Marshall said.

A father of four, Jay Joyner was convicted of assault and battery in 2001 and had a prior drunken-driving arrest. It was not known if the assault was on a family member, said Capt. Rick Gaddis.

The Sheriff’s Office at 11:30 a.m. Friday got a call after Sandra Joyner, a nurse at Southampton Memorial Hospital, failed to show up for work.

“We arrived a few minutes later, found the home locked, and after a number of attempts to have a relative or friend with a key, made contact with a relative,” Marshall said. “We were able to unlock the home.”

That was at 2:30 p.m., when Sandra Joyner’s body was found.

“It was evident she was a victim of massive blunt trauma,” Marshall said.

Joe Joyner was declared missing and a search with a helicopter, dogs and several search teams followed. He was found later that evening.

The medical examiner on Saturday determined both had been murdered.

“These horrible crimes are a tragedy for all of us,” Marshall said. “Sandy and Joe were well respected and loved by the Carrsville community. Their contributions were many. Their murders shock the conscience.”

Investigators worked around the clock to recover evidence, including the gun reportedly used in the crime, he added.

“Our office is determined to make sure justice is served in this heinous crime,” Marshall said.