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Heinze hearing moves to May
A second day of motion hearings in the death penalty case against accused mass-murderer Guy Heinze Jr. planned for Wednesday was tentatively rescheduled for May.

Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen G. Scarlett Sr. said both parties gave their consent Tuesday to complete the hearings in May after arguing their points on motions that focused primarily on several pieces of evidence in the case.

During the hearings Tuesday, Newell Hamilton, lead defense attorney for Heinze, told Scarlett he had planned to hear from Albert Roland, a fingerprint expert with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who had been subpoenaed to appear. Roland, who is from Atlanta, was not present at the hearings, which Hamilton said prevented him from being able to properly argue his points about motions pertaining to fingerprint and DNA evidence.

Heinze, 25, faces the death penalty for allegedly killing his father and seven other people in a trailer at the New Hope Plantation mobile home park on U.S. 17 Aug. 29, 2009.

Attorneys argued Tuesday about a missing audio recording made six days after the murder that purportedly contains a police interview that defense attorneys say may implicate an alternative suspect in the case.

Glynn County Police Sgt. Ricky Evans testified in court that he considered the recording to be misplaced.

Hamilton contended that the digital recording could be a potentially critical piece of evidence in the defense of his client.

Assistant District Attorney John B. Johnson said the defense has known the recording does not exist since March 2011.

If defense attorneys want to talk to Joseph Bryant "Big Joe" Anderson, the man police interviewed in the recording, they can go find him themselves, Johnson added.

Scarlett said Tuesday he wants to set a trial date for some time in August or September.

Hamilton told Scarlett that because the defense was given a large amount of evidence by prosecutors on Monday, his team may need more time to prepare and asked for a trial date for January 2014.

Heinze has been incarcerated and awaiting trial since being arrested on Sept. 5, 2009.

He faces eight counts of murder for allegedly killing his father, Guy Heinze Sr., 46; his father's friend, Russell Toler Sr., 44; and Toler's children - Michael Toler, 19; Chrissy Toler, 22; Russell Toler Jr., 20; and Michelle Toler, 15. He is also charged with the deaths of family friends Brenda Falagan, 48, and Joseph West, and attempting to kill Chrissy Toler's son, Byron Jimmerson, who was a preschooler.

* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at mhall@thebrunswick, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.

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