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Joe is a strong leader to those in his group. He set down only a few rules, therefore allowing his men to do whatever they want as long as they don't break them. When a rule is broken, he is cruel and merciless and allows for harsh and usually lethal punishments to fall upon the rule breaker. It appears that he has complete power over his group, and is respected by them all; as they rarely question his decisions.
He is shown to be a savage and ruthless man very much capable of cold-blooded murder, although he still shows a bit of patience and honor, especially for Daryl, when he has newcomers in his group. Nonetheless, he is very questioning and doesn't simply allow just anyone to join his group. Joe is also a hardened and brutal survivor who appears to take sadistic pleasure in the violence that he and his group are capable of as during the run-in with Rick's group, Joe joyfully informs Rick of what he and his group plan to do to him, Carl, Daryl, and Michonne, and is shown to have no qualms about harming and killing children as he allowed his group member Dan to molest Carl and surely would have allowed him to kill him afterwards, showing that Joe is completely remorseless.
Joe is also shown to be a very honest and direct man and has made it very clear that he despises liars, as seen when he had Len beaten to death for lying after attempting to frame Daryl and also nearly had Billy and Harley kill Daryl for lying about Rick being a good person. However, Joe is also a little bit of a hypocrite, in the sense that when he thinks that Daryl was lying about Rick being a good person, Joe arrogantly fails to see the irony of the fact that he himself is not a good person either and is just as bad as, if not worse than Rick.
Despite his villainous nature, Joe appears to hold respect and care for most of the members of his group, most notably Lou, as he makes it a mission for his group to track Lou's killer, Rick, down and slaughter him as revenge and to also bring harm to those whom Rick cares about to further their revenge towards him; an act that eventually leads to his violent demise as well as the deaths of the other members of his group.
Very little is known regarding Joe's life prior to the outbreak other than he possibly grew up in the rural outskirts of Georgia and since the age of three, he gained a affection for cats. According to Jeff Kober, Joe presumably worked as a mechanic and was described as a generally uneducated individual.  It was presumably through his work with vehicles where he later possibly became a motorcycle enthusiast (judging by his apparel.) Joe was possibly an outdoorsman as evidenced from his particular interest in crossbows and the respect he expresses for those who wield them. He presumably experienced a country-based lifestyle in which he enjoyed camping and hunting. He also appeared to have knowledge of brewing homemade alcohol.
At some point after the outbreak, Joe eventually formed a small group of survivors whom he maintained a firm leadership over and thus he strongly enforced his personal set of rules towards which included a sense of honesty along with the notion of claiming supplies in order to prevent tension from arising within the group.
Over time however, Joe and his group gradually descended into a sinister lifestyle where eventually they became a group of marauders where they committed numerous horrific actions which included murdering innocent survivors, savagely raping several women as well as sadistically hunting their victims.
Joe is one of the men who arrive at the house Rick Grimes, Carl Grimes, and Michonne are staying in. He is first heard off-screen disciplining one of his own for being a coward. He is later physically seen when he comes upstairs and bounces a tennis ball in the back room where Rick is hiding. When one of the Claimers discovers Michonne's recently cleaned shirt, Joe is heard giving orders to prepare an ambush for Michonne and whoever else is with her. After Rick sneaks outside, Joe sits on the porch eating a can of fruit and whistling. With Michonne and Carl returning from their supply run, unaware of the situation, Rick readies himself for battle, until Lou reanimates, attacks the group, and Joe quickly goes back inside to dispatch the walker, giving Rick the time he needed to escape.
Joe is first seen with his group gathering around Daryl Dixon, while Daryl is sitting down in the middle of a road. Joe approaches Daryl, but Daryl quickly rises up and punches Joe in the face, which bloodies his nose and knocks him down. Daryl then points his ready-to-fire crossbow at Joe's face, but Joe just gets back on his feet, laughs, and says he is pleased to see that Daryl is a "bow man". Joe then remarks some more on his admiration of Daryl's crossbow, including the range and force of its projectiles. Meanwhile, the other group members all point their weapons at Daryl, as Joe talks to Daryl. Joe then warns Daryl that if he kills him, the other group members will quickly kill Daryl in retaliation. After Joe talks Daryl into lowering his crossbow, the other group members lower their weapons too.
Joe is first seen sleeping with his group who are all then woken up by a walker. Joe later breaks up a potential fight between Daryl and Len and explains to Daryl that if you "claim" something its yours. Joe also tells Daryl that any rule breakers will be punished by beatings or worse. Joe splits the rabbit by cutting it in half, giving the upper body to Len and the lower body to Daryl.
Later in the episode Len frames Daryl for stealing his half of the rabbit but Daryl denies that he stole it. Joe empties Daryl's bag and Len's half of the rabbit falls out. Joe asks Daryl if he stole the rabbit and again Daryl denies it. Joe then asks Len if he framed Daryl and Len says no. Joe then punches Len and tells Daryl that he saw Len put it in Daryl's bag. Joe then gives orders to the rest of the men to beat him up. While on the railroad tracks, Daryl finds the Terminus signs and asks Joe if they have come across the signs before. Joe says that there is no sanctuary for them and tells Daryl that his group has been tracking down a "walking piece of fecal matter" (Rick) who was hiding out in a house they marauded, killed one of their men (Lou) and left him to turn. Joe says that he has seen the Terminus signs, and the group has used it as an end point for where Rick may have gone.
During the middle of the night, Joe and his group ambush Rick, Michonne, and Carl while they are camped by the roadside. Joe holds his gun to Rick's head and is about to joyfully kill him, counting down from 10. As he gets to 8, Daryl emerges from the woods and tells Joe to stop. Joe demands an explanation, and Daryl says that he is going to let Rick, Michonne and Carl go, claiming they are good people. Joe disagrees, bringing up that Rick killed Lou in a bathroom, and Daryl offers to take the punishment for Rick.
Joe then becomes visibly angered and says that Rick killed their friend and isn't a good person, stating "now that's a lie!" to Daryl, then proceeds to order his men to kill Daryl. Dan, one of Joe's group members, grabs Carl and holds a knife to his neck. Rick gets angry and tells Joe to order his men to leave Carl alone, claiming it was only him who killed Lou. Joe ignores Ricks request and joyfully informs him that he will personally kill him after Daryl is beaten to death, and Michonne and Carl are raped and killed which will put an end to their conflict. As Joe is laughing sadistically, Rick head-butts Joe causing him to shoot his gun in reflex (and missing). Rick then punches Joe in the face. Joe quickly counters Rick's punch and knocks Rick to the ground and proceeds to kick him while he is down. Joe grabs Rick and locks him tightly. Joe taunts Rick, asking "What the hell are you gonna do now, sport?" Rick, after some thought, leans forward and bites a chunk out of Joe's neck, and then pushes him to the ground. Joe then dies from his injuries. Joe's entire group are then killed by Rick, Daryl and Michonne seconds later after being distracted by Joe's death.
After ambushing Rick, Michonne, and Carl and Daryl telling Joe not to hurt them, resulting in him being attacked by Harley and Billy, Rick punches Joe who counters with a pistol whip, knocking Rick to the ground. Rick gets back up but Joe locks him with his arms then taunts him and says "What the hell you gonna do now, sport?" Rick, in response, bites Joe's throat and rips out his jugular, killing him. He is presumably put down before he reanimates.
This list shows the victims Joe has killed: