Convicted murderer, sex offender to be released from prison and live in Petersburg

Convicted murderer, sex offender to be released from prison and live in Petersburg
Mugshot of Gregory Joyner, granted parole after serving prison time for the 1988 murder of Sarah Jamison. (Source: Virginia Department of Corrections)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WWBT) - A man convicted of the murder and attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl in Lynchburg is set to be released and live in the Petersburg area, Lynchburg’s Commonwealth’s Attorney said.

Gregory Joyner was convicted by a jury on April 5, 1989, for the first-degree murder and attempted rape of Sarah Jamison. Prosecutors said Joyner admitted to strangling Jamison on May 15, 1988, after he claimed to have consensual sex with her.

Sarah Jamison
Sarah Jamison (Source: Family)

The Commonwealth’s Attorney said Joyner then buried her body in a wooded area near her parent’s house and her body wasn’t found until two weeks later.

Joyner was sentenced to life plus 10 years in prison in June of 1989, the maximum sentences for the respective offenses.

The Department of Corrections notified Jamison’s remaining living family that Joyner would be released on April 2, 2021. Her family was first notified in November 2020 that Joyner was granted early release in the form of parole.

A release from Bethany Harrison, Lynchburg’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, said that Joyner is to live in the Petersburg area and will be subject to supervision through the probation and parole office. He must also register on the state’s sex offender registry.

Officials said the Department of Corrections Regional Victim Advocate has secured travel to Lynchburg as part of his parole supervision.

“This travel ban does not operate as a new violation of law wherein Joyner could be arrested for traveling to Lynchburg. However, if he is seen in the Lynchburg area, this can be reported to the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office,” a release said.

Harrison’s office can then report the violation to Joyner’s parole officer.

Harrison released the following statement in regards to Joyner’s release”

“After the news that Joyner was granted parole, Sarah Jamison’s family knew the day would come when Joyner would be released. Thankfully the family had time to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for this date. However, the family and I remain absolutely opposed to his release. Joyner was tried by a jury and convicted of Murder and Attempted Rape. He received a sentence of Life plus 10 years. He has made no public expression of remorse. We have no information that he has changed in any way. After reading the transcripts of his interviews and the statements of the witnesses in this murder case, one fact remained clear: Gregory Joyner is a cold-blooded killed. I pray that he has changed. Citizens of this Commonwealth should not have to live in fear that he hasn’t. I renew my call for more transparency and accountability of the Virginia Parole Board.”

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