Justice was served

Published 5:03 pm Saturday, February 16, 2013

Some folks in Western Tidewater were surprised last week to learn that Joe Charles “Jay” Joyner had entered a plea for the murder of his father and stepmother, bringing to a quick conclusion the trial for the heinous crimes.

Eight months after shooting Joe Joyner, 62, in the head and then beating to death Sandra Joyner, 58, at their Carrsville-area home, Jay Joyner on Wednesday entered an Alford plea in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court. This type of plea means he didn’t admit to killing the couple on April 26, but agrees there was enough evidence for a conviction.

In exchange, the 37-year-old’s life will be spared. The prosecution agreed to drop the death penalty for the plea. Joyner got four life sentences.

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Especially when it comes to a capital murder case like this one, the wheels of justice usually grind slowly. But no time was wasted in this case, and the efficiency of the justice system owes much to the hard work and determination of the law enforcement officers and prosecutors who worked it. The Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office, especially, should be commended for uncovering enough evidence against Joyner to lead him to believe a jury would find him guilty.

Paying for a long imprisonment and legal defense costs for Joyner while he exhausted the appeals available to a death-row inmate would have cost Isle of Wight and, subsequently, Virginia taxpayers far more money than was spent securing his conviction last week.

The loss of Joe and Sandy Joyner was tragic. Justice, however, was served.