A man accused of killing his father and seven other people in a mobile home they shared pleaded not guilty in court Thursday, two and a half years after the massacre.
Guy Heinze Jr. attended an arraignment hearing before Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett in Brunswick. The 24-year-old suspect has been jailed since September 2009, a few days after Heinze alerted police to the killings when he dialed 911 and sobbed: "My whole family is dead."
Police said Heinze beat his eight victims, including cousins and family friends, to death in August 2009. The lone survivor of the attack was a 3-year-old child.
In court Thursday, prosecutors asked for some additional time to get certain pieces of evidence tested for DNA. They said the items are in a lab in Savannah. The judge granted them a deadline of having to get back with him by March 9, and the defense asked they be privy to seeing what is going on with that testing.
Several family members of the victims also attended the hearing.
Heinze made these 911 calls after the killings:
Heinze: "It looks like a (expletive) murder scene."
911: "I understand that. Did somebody tear up everything or are they just beat up?"
Heinze: "People are beaten. They're all dead."
911: "Ok. You have no idea who could have done this?"
Heinze: "I don't know who did."
911: "Ok I want you to go inside to Michael. Tell me exactly. See if you can talk to him and see if you can ask him where."
Heinze: "He's got Down syndrome. He can't really talk. Michael?"
911: "Ask him, say, 'Where do you hurt?'"
Heinze: "Where do you hurt, Michael? Michael, where you hurting, man? Michael?"
911: "He can't talk?"
Heinze: "I don't know.. He's not talking, just breathing."
Heinze claimed he returned home to find his entire family killed, but police said they have evidence that proves that he's responsible for each death.
In another 911 call, a neighbor inside a mobile home tried to summon help for 15-year-old Michael Toler, who died two days later.
Neighbor: "Everybody except one person. Michael, still alive? Yea, Michael's alive, he needs an ambulance."
911: "How old is Michael? And what happened to them?"
Neighbor: "Michael is one of the family members. He's got Down syndrome. ("He's breathing, needs help," Heinze said in the background.) "Ok, Guy, calm down, they're on the way."
911: "Ask him how he needs help. Where is he hurting? And is he beat up? What's going on?"
Neighbor: "Guy, where's he hurting? Is he beat up bad? His face is smashed in."
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty but have released no motive in the killings.
The case is going before a new judge, who expressed disappointment in court over the fact that it's taken two and a half years for Heinze to be arraigned. The case had been assigned to Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams, who resigned last year to settle civil ethics charges by a state agency that were unrelated to Heinze's case.
No family members would comment after Thursday's hearing. Attorneys did not speak either because they are under a gag order.