Toler, 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., was seriously injured in the attack but ended up the sole survivor.
Both Heinze's grandfather and younger brother have questioned how he alone could have clubbed eight people to death. Clint Rowe, an uncle by marriage to the four slain Toler children, said after their funeral that Heinze "was part of the family," even if he wasn't related to the Tolers by blood.
A neighbor called 911 the morning after the slayings and handed the phone to Heinze, who sounds distraught as he says he found the battered bodies after returning home from a night out.
"It looks like they've been beaten to death. I don't know what to do, man," Heinze says on the recording. His voice becomes frantic when he discovers Michael Toler, who has Down syndrome, badly injured but clinging to life.
"Michael's alive, tell them to hurry!" Heinze can be heard yelling on the 911 recording. "He's beat up! His face is smashed in!"
Michael Toler died from his injuries at a hospital the next day.
Pretrial hearings revealed that police found blood all over the home. Blood-stain samples tested for DNA were collected from a living room chair, the kitchen floor and a bedroom window. There was blood on part of the ceiling and a trash basket behind a TV. Investigators found blood spattered on a cellphone, a kitchen knife, a pair of underwear and a pair of khaki shorts. They found more blood on the broken stock of a shotgun.
Authorities have never given a motive for the killings. But Heinze's defense lawyers said in a June court filing they suspect prosecutors may argue that a dispute over drugs triggered the carnage.
"There are witnesses who may testify that there was extensive drug use among members of the household and that Joe West was involved in the sale of illegal drugs," Heinze's lawyers wrote. "Evidence will likely be offered that on the night of the murders, Guy Heinze bought drugs from Joe West."
The court filing by Heinze's defense team goes on to say prosecutors might argue "that Mr. Heinze was in a drug-fueled rage and once started on the killings of his family could not be stopped until all were violently beaten to death."
Heinze is charged with eight counts of murder, once count of aggravated assault related to the toddler who survived the attack, plus two counts of drug possession. If he's convicted of murder, prosecutors will ask the jury to sentence Heinze to death.
Heinze's lead defense attorney, Newell Hamilton Jr., did not immediately respond to a phone call and email message Friday. He has previously declined to comment on specifics of the case.
The trial judge and attorneys plan to select a final dozen jurors plus alternates Tuesday from a pool of more than 70 who were qualified after being questioned about their views on the death penalty and prior knowledge of the case.
Superior Court Judge Steven Scarlett plans to sequester jurors until the trial ends. Heinze's attorneys asked the judge not to do that and argued that allowing jurors to go home at night would make them less inclined to rush to a verdict. But the judge agreed with prosecutors that jurors should be sequestered to keep them from exposure to news coverage and chatter about the trial outside the courthouse.