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High court reviews murder case filings
The fate of the case against accused mass murderer Guy Heinze Jr. is now in the hands of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Heinze is accused of killing his father and seven others Aug. 29, 2009, in a trailer where they lived in New Hope Plantation, in northern Glynn County.

He faces the death penalty if convicted.

The case was sent to the state's high court for pretrial review last week -- a common practice in death penalty cases -- after Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett in October ordered parts of the case, including statements Heinze allegedly made to police after the murders, be reviewed.

Heinze's lead attorney, Joe Vigneri, had asked Scarlett to send the case for review after the judge denied a motion to bar statements Heinze made in September 2009, denied a defense challenge to the composition of the grand jury pool and made other rulings against defense requests.

Both Heinze's lawyers and the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office had the opportunity to file additional requests of the high court before it was sent.

Vigneri said Monday, aside from some sealed evidentiary information, the defense had made no additional filings.

Once the Supreme Court receives the entire case, it will be placed on the court docket. From that point, the court will decide whether it will hear the case within 45 days.

The high court will look at all the requests and decide whether to hear arguments on all, some or none of the issues raised.

In addition to allegedly killing his father, Guy Heinze Sr., 46, Heinze is accused of killing 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 also is charged in the deaths of family friends Brenda Falagan, 48, and Joseph West, 30.

Heinze is also accused of attempting to kill Chrissy Toler's son, Byron Jimmerson, who is now 6 years old.

Heinze faces eight counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault with intent to murder, one count of possessing a Schedule IV narcotic -- considered to have a low potential for abuse but illegal without a prescription -- and one count of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.

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