Prosecution rests in mobile home slayings trial
- Associated Press
- October 21, 2013 - 3:01 PM
BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Prosecutors rested their case Monday against a coastal Georgia man charged with clubbing his father and seven others to death inside a mobile home after a witness testified he once heard the suspect threaten to kill the victims.
Guy Heinze Jr., 26, faces the death penalty if he's convicted of malice murder in the Aug. 29, 2009, slayings just outside Brunswick. Prosecutors rested their case as the trial entered its second week.
Among the last prosecution witnesses was Ronald Parker, who said he used to work with some of the victims at a factory near the mobile home park where the killings occurred. Parker testified he had once heard Heinze complain that his father was giving money to others but not to his own sons, The Florida Times-Union reported (bit.ly/1fQPqVx).
"He said, 'He ain't never give me and my brother anything. I'm going to kill him. I'm going to kill 'em all,'" Parker told the jury.
Parker also testified he saw Heinze and one of the victims, Russell Toler Jr., get into a "little tussle" at the factory three to five weeks before the killings.
Heinze's lead defense attorney, Newell Hamilton Jr., accused Parker of lying. Hamilton noted Heinze hadn't worked at the factory for at least a year before the slayings. Several witnesses have testified that Heinze had a job with a homebuilder when the slayings occurred four years ago.
"You're coming into this courtroom and making this up," Hamilton said.
Heinze is charged with killing his father, 45-year-old Guy Heinze Sr., and the other seven. Rusty Toler Sr., 44, was killed along with his four children: Chrissy Toler, 22; Russell D. Toler Jr., 20; Michael Toler, 19; and Michelle Toler, 15. Also slain was the elder Toler's sister, Brenda Gail Falagan, 49, and Joseph L. West, the 30-year-old boyfriend of Chrissy Toler. Her 3-year-old son, Byron Jimerson Jr., ended up the sole survivor but had severe head injuries.
Each of the victims was beaten to death and died from skull and brain injuries. Glynn County police Lt. William Daras testified he believes Heinze, who had been smoking crack cocaine in the hours before the slayings, killed the victims to take their money and a bottle of painkillers prescribed to one of them.
A neighbor, Margaret Orlinski, testified Monday that Heinze was hysterical when he came to her to call police the morning the slayings were discovered, the Brunswick News reported (http://bit.ly/1c9ViZj).
"He was running with his hands up yelling, help, help, help, help," Orlinski said.
Orlinski also testified that the victims had a dog that often barked, but she never heard it or any other commotion overnight when police believe the slayings occurred.
Also Monday, a sheriff's deputy tasked with watching over the sequestered jury told Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett that he heard one juror talking about the case — which the judge has ordered jurors not to do — as the deputy escorted the man to the gym.
Deputy Rocky Mortoriet testified he heard the juror say: "There is no way I can convict this gentleman."
Scarlett gave no order in the courtroom, but when the jury returned Monday morning he reminded them it was "improper to discuss the case."
The judge seated four alternates in addition to the 12 jurors when the trial began. One juror had to be dismissed Friday because she hurt her knee.
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