Opening statement underway in death penalty case in Glynn County - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Opening statements underway in death penalty case

Guy Heinze Jr. Guy Heinze Jr.
Assistant District Attorney for Glynn County John Johnson Assistant District Attorney for Glynn County John Johnson

Opening statements are underway in the death penalty trial for a man accused of the 2009 slaying of eight people.

Guy Heinze Jr. is accused of the August 2009 slayings of his father and seven others at a home in the New Hope Plantation Mobile Home Park, which is in rural, northern Glynn County. Lawyers have selected 10 women and six men to sit on the jury.

Glynn County Superior Court Judge Steven Scarlett has ordered all of them to be sequestered throughout the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks.

The defense just wrapped up their opening arguments. The prosecution provided details room by room of the crime scene, including how each victim was found. They said each family member was bludgeoned to death in the head with the barrel of a gun. Prosecutors also described Heinz's reaction that morning when he found the crime scene.

The prosecution said they have fingerprints and blood linking Heinze, along with a motive of drugs and a grudge against the family, but the defense calls the motives flimsy.

The defense says they have experts who will testify to the fact a person has never killed 8 people at one time in this fashion by himself.

The state says Heinze told police he checked each family member to see if they were alive when he found them but had no blood on his clothes except on the inside of reversible shorts he was wearing underneath his khaki pants.

The defense says Heinze would have has physical injuries or signs of a struggle since 4 of the victims appeared to have put up a fight.

"He's hollering that his family has been beaten to death. He needs help and somebody to call 911 because he in that point in time is the only person who in fact knows what happened to this family. They were beaten to death. Police officers you'll hear from - the evidence in this case - when they arrived, they went in the house and thought at one point in time that they had been shot, that was their initial impression," said John Johnson, assistant district attorney for Glynn County.

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