Joyner expected to enter guilty plea

Published 2:40 pm Monday, February 4, 2013

Joe Charles "Jay" Joyner is escorted from a hearing in Isle of Wight Courthouse . Joyner next week is expected to plead guilty to killing his father and stepmother at their Carrsville home on April 26. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

ISLE OF WIGHT—A Courtland man accused of murdering his father and stepmother is expected to enter a guilty plea in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court, his attorney Sonny Stallings said Monday.

In exchange for Joe Charles “Jay” Joyner’s plea, the commonwealth’s attorney has agreed not to seek the death penalty against the 37-year-old for allegedly killing Joe Joyner and his wife, Sandra, of Carrsville, Stallings said.

“It’ll be life in prison,” he said. “It’s probably in his best interest. We just examined all of the commonwealth’s evidence and feel it will be in his best interest.”

Commonwealth Attorney Wayne Farmer did not want to comment.

“I’m usually willing, but I’m not going to comment until he appears in court,” Farmer said.

Jay Joyner on April 26 allegedly beat to death Sandra Joyner, 58, inside the couple’s home at 31334 Walters Highway. Joe Joyner, a 2011 candidate for county supervisor in the Carrsville District, was found dead in the woods behind the home. A shotgun was used to shoot him in the head three days after his 62nd birthday, according to court records.

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. The Sheriff’s Office allegedly had received information that Jay Joyner killed the couple because his dad planned to cut him off financially.

Sheriff Mark Marshall did not want to comment until after Joyner does indeed plead guilty. He is scheduled for a 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, hearing.

“I think the summary of the evidence will be compelling, but I am reluctant to comment until he pleads,” Marshall said Monday. “This is still a pending trial. (If a plea is entered) I will clearly be able to make comments and freely discuss (the matter).”

Stallings hasn’t seen the plea agreement in writing so could not say exactly what charges he expects Joyner to plea to next week..

“I should be getting it any day,” he said.