After his mother died from blood loss giving birth to him, Joey was given up for adoption by his paramedic father Roy Burns, who was presumably unable to deal with raising a child on his own. Sent from home to home, Joey was generally regarded as unwanted by his foster families and would eventually be sent to Pinehurst Youth Development Center where he met his ultimate fate. The fact that Joey was Roy's son was unknown to many, including the local authorities and Matthew Letter, the head of Pinehurst. His death caused Roy Burns' rampage.
In 1989, Joey, after returning to Pinehurst alongside Robin after going for a walk, is followed by Sheriff Cal Tucker and Deputy Dodd, who are returning Pinehurst residents Eddie and Tina to the house, after finding them having sex on the nearby property of Ethel Hubbard. Shortly after the arrival of the sheriff, Joey, the rest of the Pinehurst residents and the house staff, are all threatened by Ethel and her son Junior, who had driven to the house to voice their outrage that Eddie and Tina were on their property. When the police and Hubbards leave, Joey goes back to walking with Robin.Later, Joey, going to the backyard of Pinehurst, finds Robin and fellow housemates Violet and Vic in the midst of doing chores. Approaching Robin and Violet, who are hanging laundry, Joey greets them and offers to help them, stating he is good at doing laundry, despite never being assigned to doing it. After Robin tells him to leave, Joey continues to pester her and Violet, offering them his half eaten chocolate bar and causing Violet to angrily tell Joey to leave. Despite this, Joey still annoyingly tries to help Violet and Robin, culminating in smearing chocolate on some of the clothes the girls were hanging out. Apologizing to the angered Robin and Violet, Joey reaffirms his belief that he is good at hanging clothes before leaving to find someone else he can assist, telling Robin and Violet as he goes that if they change their minds and want him to help them some more, he will be nearby.
Going to the portion of the yard where Vic is chopping an old log with an axe, Joey annoys him, only to be told to go away. Ignoring Vic's demand, Joey offers Vic a chocolate bar and continues to offer to help. Trying his best to not be useless around Vic, who is ignoring him completely. Joey claims that he loves living at Pinehurst where he can help freely around the house and in the yard and feel needed, unlike in his previous foster homes, where he was not allowed to do anything of importance because he was useless and always teased. After Joey finishes pestering Vic, he states that Vic should set himself in line. Vic, having become increasingly pissed off by Joey angrily states he hates living in the halfway house before yelling at Joey to leave him alone.
Remaining oblivious to Vic's anger, Joey once again offers him a half eaten grubby chocolate bar, setting it down on the log Vic had been chopping. After Vic chops the chocolate bar in half with his axe, Joey, shocked by this act, angrily tells Vic he has gone too far before storming off in a rage. As Joey walks away, he is attacked from behind by Vic, who in his pent up rage at Joey, knocks him to the ground with an axe blow to his back before maniacally hacking at Joey's body over and over again until he dies while Matthew Robin and Violet watch in horror.After Vic is apprehended by the police, paramedics arrive to take away Joey's body, which is covered by a blood stained blanket. As the paramedics prepare to move Joey's body with a hoist, Pinehurst director Doctor Matthew Letter reveals to Sheriff Tucker that Joey's mother died giving birth to him because she had died due to blood loss while delivering Joey and that his father abandoned him soon after.
After Roy Burns, who had been copycatting the murder style of Jason Voorhees, is killed by Tommy Jarvis, Sheriff Tucker reveals to Pam Roberts, the assistant director of Pinehurst who Tommy had saved from Roy, that he had discovered that Roy was Joey's father. Having apparently watched Joey grow up from afar, Roy, who was one of the paramedics who had been called to move Joey's corpse, was apparently driven mad by the sight of his son’s butchered remains and had gone on a murderous rampage in a twisted attempt to avenge Joey's death, much like Pamela Voorhees had done after she believed her son Jason had died.
- It is unclear if he shared the same surname as his father Roy Burns, as he was abandoned since his mother died after giving birth to him.