Jurors deadlocked in Heinze case
By Michael Hall
Brunswick Judicial Circuit Judge Stephen Scarlett told the jury in the death penalty case against Guy Heinze Jr. to continue deliberating after the foreman indicated it was at a deadlock on the murder and attempted murder counts in the indictment charging Heinze with the beating deaths of eight people in a trailer Aug. 29, 2009.
Shortly after 1 p.m. today, the jury returned to the courtroom in Glynn County Superior Court, after deliberating seven hours Wednesday and four hours today, and said the eight women and four men on the jury were split nine to three. They did not say which way the majority was leaning.
Scarlett told the jury to continue to deliberate, with instructions only to discuss the murder and attempted murder charges, counts one through nine, and to disregard the drug charges, counts 10 and 11. The jury said it had reached a verdict on the drug charges.
If the jury remains at a deadlock and the final result is a hung jury on the murder charges, Heinze, 26, could be retried.
Heinze has been on trial since Oct. 15 for the alleged murders of 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 – in a trailer at New Hope Plantation mobile home park. He also is charged with 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 was then a preschooler.
In addition to eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault with intent to murder, Heinze is charged with one count of illegally possessing a Schedule IV narcotic, which is considered to have a low potential for abuse, and one count of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.