He asked jurors to go back and listen to how distraught Heinze sounded on the 911 call. And he reminded the jury that two defense experts testified there must have been more than one killer in the house. A former police detective estimated three to five attackers committed the killings. He also noted the blood found on Heinze's clothing was smeared, not spattered, indicating it rubbed off on Heinze when he found the bodies rather than as the slayings occurred.
Hamilton accused police of failing to follow up on a tip that others had made threats against the Toler family and from taking into evidence pair of a homemade martial-arts style nunchucks found in a tire near the mobile home about two weeks after the slayings.
The victims included the suspect's father, 45-year-old Guy Heinze Sr. The elder Toler was slain along with his four children: Chrissy Toler, 22; Russell D. Toler Jr., 20; Michael Toler, 19; and Michelle Toler, 15. Also killed 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 suffered severe head injuries.
Autopsies showed each victim died from being bashed in the skull with a blunt weapon. They suffered a combined total of more than 220 external injuries.
Police never found the murder weapon, but suspect the victims were beaten the barrel of a shotgun. A broken gun stock was found beside Rusty Toller Sr.'s head.
Heinze told police there were two shotguns in the elder Toler's closet. The one found in his trunk was ruled out as the murder weapon. Heinze told police he removed it from the house before police arrived because it had been stolen. Police checked the serial number and found the gun was legally registered to one of the victims.