Jury qualifing begins before mass murder trial

Guy Heinze Jr. accused of killing 8 of his own family members in 2009


BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Glynn County began jury qualification Monday in advance of next month's trial of a man accused in what's considered the largest mass murder in Georgia's history.

Guy Heinze Jr. is charged with killing his father and seven others -- most members of his own family -- on Aug. 29, 2009.

A 3-year-old boy was the person inside that mobile home that survived the attack.

The case has dragged out for four years.  First, a new prosecutor had to be appointed because District Attorney Steve Kelly became a judge. Then the presiding judge resigned for unrelated reasons.

Heinze had to be indicted a second time because the defense learned the grand jury that originally issued the indictment included a convicted felon, so it had to start over.

One of the defense lawyers wanted to withdraw, but wasn't allowed to.
Because this is a death penalty case, there have been a lot of motions filed, and every time the defense loses at that, it takes appeals to the Georgia Supreme Court.

The second time he was indicted was just one of the reasons this trial has been delayed four years.

Heinze's defense team recently asked for the trial to be pushed back to January, but the judge seemed anxious to get it underway, saying four years seems to be more than enough time to prepare.

Prosecutors agreed and said they're confident in their case.

"I've dealt with all these 4,000 pages over the years and you don't hear me whining about the date. We're ready to go," said John Johnson, of the District Attorney's Office.

The defense raised a possible concern with a new system in place that could influence the number of jurors being qualified to for a jury pool of 60 that will be called on Oct. 15.

If convicted, the state is expected to seek the death penalty.