Guy Heinze Jr. trial update
By: Michael Hall
A defense attorney told jurors this morning in the third day of the trial of Guy Heinze Jr. that Glynn County Police have shown a “reckless indifference” for the collection and handling of evidence during the investigation of the Aug. 29, 2009 mass murder for which Heinze is now on trial for his life.
Heinze is accused of killing his father and seven others in a single wide trailer in a mobile home park at New Hope Plantation, off U.S. 17 in north Glynn County. The district attorney is seeking the death penalty.
Heinze has maintained his innocence.
Defense lawyer Newell Hamilton was allowed to make a supplemental opening statement today after new evidence came to light a week before the trial began Tuesday.
Hamilton said Gail Priest, formerly Gail Montgomery, had called police around Sept. 10, 2009 to report she found what she thought might have been the murder weapon.
“It turns out that Gail Montgomery found in a tire beside that trailer (that had been used by police during the crime scene investigation) a pair of bloody nunchucks like you would see in a martial arts movie,” Hamilton told the jury.
Hamilton also said a hammer that was found on the grounds of the trailer in August 2009 where the murders happened was moved but never logged into evidence or documented.
He said the nunchucks and hammer, either one or both of which could have been used in the slayings, are missing.
Hamilton also suggested the killings might have been carried out by gang members.
Heinze has been in the Glynn County Detention Center since he was arrested Sept. 5, 2009.
In addition to allegedly killing his father, Guy Heinze Sr., 46, Guy Heinze 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. He also is charged in the deaths of family friends Brenda Falagan, 48, and Joseph West, 30. He also is accused of attempting to kill Byron Jimmerson, Chrissy Toler’s son, who was a preschooler at the time.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit Judge Stephen Scarlett is presiding over the case in Glynn County Superior Court.
The trial was to resume today following lunch.