Tending to Joe Joyner’s crops

Published 10:46 am Thursday, June 28, 2012

Winkie Howell and his grandson, Patrick Bosly, work in the field on the late Joe Joyner's farm. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

CARRSVILLE—Winkie Howell is reminded daily about the murder of his longtime friend Joe Joyner.

That’s because Howell spends nearly five hours each day tending to Joyner’s passion — the 15 to 20 acres of crops on the Carrsville farm where Joyner and his wife, Sandra, were killed on April 27.

“I hate everything that happened,” the Franklin man said. “It makes me sad every time I go out there. It’s hard to believe that someone could do that to their father.”

Four days after the Joyners were found dead at their 31334 Walters Highway home, Joe Joyner’s only son was arrested for their murders.

Joe Charles “Jay” Joyner Jr., 37, of Courtland is accused of beating Sandra Joyner, 58, to death inside their home and using a shotgun to shoot Joe Joyner in the head three days after his 62nd birthday.

Their bodies were discovered one day after the murders when Sandra Joyner failed to show at Southampton Memorial Hospital, where she worked as a nurse for 35 years.

Joe Joyner’s body later that evening was found in the woods behind their home. Investigators indicated he had been dragged to the location and his body was covered.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office had received information that Jay Joyner killed the couple because his dad — a Carrsville District candidate for Isle of Wight County Supervisor in 2011 — planned to cut him off financially. The suspect is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Monday, July 9.

Joe Joyner’s brothers, David, 55, and Glenn Joyner, 64, both of Franklin, are handling the estate and asked Howell to take care of the farm.

“It’s something my brother would’ve wanted,” David Joyner said.

Joe Joyner sold produce at the Franklin Farmers’ Market, and to neighbors and senior citizens at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Franklin. At the time of his death, he had already planted squash, corn and potatoes. A sign in front of his home still indicates he has kale for sale.

“He had a lot of people he delivered to,” said David Joyner.

A former manager for the particleboard plant for Union Camp Corp. and Norboard Co. of Deposit, N.Y., Joe Joyner awoke at 4 a.m. daily to work in the fields.

“He would work out there most of the day, or was hauling vegetables to different people, usually until 4:30 or 5 (p.m.),” David Joyner said.

Howell was more than willing to help the Joyners.

“We didn’t want the place to grow up,” the 58-year-old said.

Howell sells much of the produce at the Franklin Farmers’ Market and planted potatoes, string beans, butter beans, watermelon and peas on the Joyners’ farm.

David and Glenn Joyner take care of the yard, including the fruit trees.

Nothing can be done with the property until Jay Joyner goes to court. If acquitted, he and his four children stand to inherit the property, David Joyner said.

If Jay Joyner is found guilty, David Joyner assumes Sandra Joyner’s estate would go to her family.

“I don’t know a whole lot of answers right now of what can be done,” David Joyner said. “We’re in the first stages of this thing. I know my brother would’ve liked to look after his grandkids.”