Northam’s Parole Board Releases Convicted Killer of Teen Girl

House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert Statement on Parole Board’s Release of Gregory Joyner

On May 5, 1988, Gregory Joyner took the life of 15-year-old Sarah Jamison. After what he claimed was consensual sex, he strangled her to death. He then buried her body in a wooded area not far from her parent’s home. In 1989 he was convicted of first degree murder and attempted rape, and sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years.

In 2017, the Virginia Parole Board heard Gregory’s request for parole and denied it, citing Gregory’s “extensive criminal record,” a “history of violence,” and “the serious nature and circumstances of [his] offense.”  Releasing Gregory would “diminish the seriousness of the crime” of which he was convicted, the board held.

The board reached an identical conclusion in 2019. But just 18 months later, the new parole board appointed by Governor Ralph Northam decided that it was time for Joyner, now 48, to walk free.

“Gregory Joyner not only took Sarah Jamison’s life in a horrific way, he devastated her family, her friends, and every person impacted by her life,” said House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert. “He stole her entire future, and now the Virginia Parole Board is going to afford him what he robbed from her. The man who killed Sarah has his life back, yet this family will never have Sarah again.”

“This Board has already been found to have violated both law and procedure in letting such killers walk free. They stand for the interests of violent criminals, not victims and their families. It has become increasingly clear that the Northam administration and the House Democratic caucus not only condone these actions but also intend to continue to help hide the illegal and unethical behavior of this Parole Board,” Gilbert said. “The best time for Governor Northam to have fired this board was when they released their first unrepentant killer. The second best time is right now.”