Investigation Discovery’s ‘Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? F. B. I Do’ chronicles two cases, one of which covers the murder attempt of Bryant Parker on his wife, Joyce Sowa, in her Virginia country home in December 2001. Though she survived the almost fatal attack, she still suffers from nightmares and is trying her best to move on. If you’re interested in finding out more about the case, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
What Happened to Joyce Sowa?
In 2002, Joyce Sowa was the perfect example of an independent and ambitious woman as she ascended the career ladder in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. She had a remarkably successful career working in high-level jobs with the secret service and the treasury department. In addition, Joyce was the Former Chief of Staff for multiple political personalities, including Booze Allen. She said, “I had the most rewarding career in the government. I was making very good money.”
According to the episode, Joyce was never married, having invested all her time in her career. However, she was set to retire by the end of the year and was looking forward to enjoying the fruits of her labor. She was living in a townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia, just south of Washington, DC, and was looking to invest some money in real estate. Joyce stated how she stumbled across a “For Sale” sign while cruising through her neighborhood in August 2002.
When Joyce called the agent, she was instantly attracted to his “cute” voice and was more tempted after meeting him in person. The realtor, Bryant Matthew Parker, helped her secure the neighborhood property and also aided her in the search for a country home in Middlesboro in Bell County, Kentucky. Joyce recounted her passion for horses, hence her interest in purchasing a property there. The pair began to communicate over the phone and texts regularly, and soon their conversation turned from a client-agent relationship to something more personal.
Joyce’s friend, Nancy Karpowicz, recalled on the show, “She was very interested in him. He had an outgoing personality, being in sales, and they seemed to be getting together quite well.” According to the episode, Bryant was recently separated from her wife of 16 years, with whom he had a 12-year-old son. She lived in Pennsylvania, and he was not keen on separation because of the child. Yet, the two were inseparable when he helped Joyce close her beloved country home in the fall of 2002. While their relationship prospered, Bryant began to have a fallout with his former wife, and the two quarreled over the phone daily.
During the 2002 Christmas, Bryant went to his ex-wife’s home to see his son and did the same again on Valentine’s Day. This time, Joyce got suspicious and confronted him, and he reportedly confessed to sleeping with his former wife. The confession broke her, yet Bryant saved the relationship by proposing to marry her. On April 11, 2003, just a day before the wedding, he was fired from his company. Joyce was working as a consultant in a political firm and making substantial money, and she offered to help him set up a real estate office.
Bryant and Joyce tied the knot on April 12 and honeymooned in London, with the latter happily covering the cost. However, their relationship started deteriorating, with the realtor’s business failing to make money even after two years. According to Joyce, they were not making enough money to cover the bills as he drank excessively and bounced from one job to another over the years. The episode showed Bryant was verbally abusive and called her names when drunk. He would apologize later on, but the drinking continued. After years of verbal abuse, Joyce said she wanted a separation to set her husband straight on December 1, 2009.
“I’m giving you a year. Clean up your act, stop drinking, and find a decent job. Take care of yourself and do what you need to do,” Joyce told her husband. Consequently, Bryant moved out, lived with family members, and started drinking more after the separation. In September 2010, he admitted himself to a West Virginia psychiatric ward and was discharged in November 2011. Joyce served Bryant with divorce papers, feeling he could tackle the situation. According to the show, he lost his calm as he continued to call her incessantly, threatening and pleading with her.
Sadly, Joyce’s worst nightmare came true when she woke up on December 2, 2011, to find Bryant standing over her with a 6-inch kitchen knife. She recalled, “He was standing here, had climbed over me, and shoved the knife into me.” She continued, “He just plunged it right into the middle of my chest. He took the knife out, and blood squirted up about 4 inches.. the blood was spurting out of me. I have no idea how I had where with all to reach the phone and dial 911. That call saved my life.”
Though Byrant punctured both lungs, he missed the heart, and Joyce was transported to the trauma unit at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus in Annandale, Virginia. She remembered how she had nightmares years after and said, “I had the fear that he was still after me… I have nightmares almost every night.” She added, “Women give and give and give. They need to recognize the signs of abuse and take care of themselves. That’s the big thing. I didn’t take care of myself.”
Where is Bryant Parker Now?
When Joyce passed out choking on her blood, Byrant picked up the receiver and confessed to the operator about “murdering” his wife. According to police reports, he did not flee after committing the heinous crime but stayed at the scene till medical respondents arrived. Bryant had even used a cloth to stop the wounds from bleeding too much, saving her life. WUSA9 Reporter Peggy Fox reasoned he did so since he knew Joyce had already implicated him in her 911 call, and there was no way he could escape.
Bryant pleaded guilty to one count of malicious wounding on September 4, 2013, and was sentenced to 16 years in prison in October 2013. Moreover, the court sentenced him to an additional four years of suspended time and required him to be placed on supervised probation for four years upon his release from prison. According to official court documents, the 77-year-old is incarcerated at the Lawrenceville Correctional Center. Bryant’s inmate records state he will be released in November 2025.
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