Joyner murder suspect denied bond

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Murder suspect Joseph “Jay” Joyner Jr. was denied bond during a Monday hearing in Isle of Wight County. The 37-year-old Courtland man is accused of killing his father, Joe Joyner, and his stepmother, Sandra Joyner.

By Gwen Albers

The Tidewater News

A judge on Monday denied bond for murder suspect Joseph “Jay” Joyner Jr. despite his attorney’s claims that the case against the 37-year-old Courtland man was extremely weak.

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“We find evidence shared with us to date is circumstantial at best,” attorney Sonny Stallings told Judge Alfreda Talton-Harris during a hearing at the Isle of Wight County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. “They have no witnesses and no statements from the defendant.”

Joyner is accused of killing his father and stepmother on April 27 at their Walters Highway home near Carrsville. The suspect allegedly shot Joe Joyner, 62, in the back of the head with a shotgun. Jay Joyner also allegedly beat to death Sandra Joyner, 58, inside the home.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Farmer on Monday argued against allowing bond, claiming that Joyner may head to Louisiana, where his wife and children live.

Farmer also said the evidence against Joyner is “very, very significant,” but the judge cut him off when Farmer initially attempted to share that evidence with the court.

“There is substantial evidence through state police that Jay went to North Carolina to buy oxycodone,” Farmer said later.

A North Carolina drug dealer allegedly told authorities he sold 30 pills to Joyner, who was a regular customer. Another drug dealer from Virginia Beach, where Joyner worked, shared a similar story, Farmer said.

“He was either engaging in the sale, or was a significant user of narcotics,” Farmer said. “The sale or use of narcotics raises great concern.”

After Joyner’s arrest, the Sheriff’s Office reported that a witness notified police about seeing a man who looked like Joyner park his vehicle on West Blackwater Road and throw something into the Blackwater River. The suspect apparently would take the route to travel from his home to his father’s home.

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

Investigators also developed a number of leads from interviews and evidence found at the scene.

Calling for bond to be set, Stalling suggested Joyner could have been required to stay at his mother’s home in Courtland.

“I don’t think some type of bond would be unreasonable,” Stallings said.

After the judge’s ruling, Joyner was returned to Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 17.