Heinze Trial Update - Day 5
By: Michael Hall
A Glynn County Police investigator during his second day of cross examination by defense attorneys said Saturday he believes Guy Heinze Jr. killed his father and seven others on Aug. 29, 2009 after a night of smoking crack cocaine because he wanted their drugs and their money.
In addition to allegedly killing his father, Guy Heinze Sr., 46, Guy Heize Jr. is accused of killing his father’s friend, Russell Toler Sr., 44, and Toler’s children - Chrissy Toler, 22, Russell Toler Jr., 20, Michael Toler, 19, and Michelle Toler, 15, in a trailer in a mobile home park in New Hope Plantation. He also is charged in the deaths of family friends Brenda Falagan, 48, and Joseph West, 30, and the attempted murder of Byron Jimmerson, Chrissy Toler's son, who was a preschooler at the time.
When pressed by Heinze’s defense attorney, Newell Hamilton, in day five of the trial in Glynn County Superior Court, Lt. Bill Daras, lead investigator in the case, for the first time in the trial indicated a motive for why prosecutors say Heinze, 26, was responsible for the mass murder.
“What’s the motive for Mr. Heinze killing his loved ones, sir?” Hamilton asked Daras.
“My belief is he came back to that trailer at some point that night, wanted those pills from Michael Toler, got into a confrontation with Russel Toler Sr.,” which eventually led to all eight people being beaten to death, Daras said.
Daras supported his theory with the fact that only Toler Sr. had any money on him, $61, and that Heinze had $391 when arrested on drug and evidence tampering charges the morning of the murders.
Daras cited information given by another person, whom he did not identify, that at one point during the night prior to the murders, Heinze had only $50 on him when trying to buy crack cocaine at a motel in Darien.
Hamilton pointed out that Daras’ theory is based on speculation and that there is no physical evidence, like a murder weapon, tying Heinze directly to the attack.
Hamilton also pointed out that in a video taped interview with police four days after the murders, Heinze said he had been paid $490 on Aug. 28 and had detailed how he had spent roughly $100 throughout the night.
Daras said Heinze is the only logical person to have committed the crime because of the fact Heinze had blood from several victims on the clothes he was wearing that morning. In addition, his hand print in Toler Sr.’s blood was on a shotgun found in the trunk of the car he was driving and his prints in blood were on a cell phone belonging to Michelle Toler that was also in the car.
“We don’t have any evidence anyone else was there but Mr. Heinze,” Daras said.
The district attorney is seeking the death penalty. Special Assistant John B. Johnson is the lead prosecutor.
The Saturday session of the trial was to resume after lunch.
Court is not expected to be in session Sunday.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit Judge Stephen Scarlett is the presiding judge.
Heinze has been in the Glynn County Detention Center since he his arrest Sept. 5, 2009.