Death penalty, DNA argued in pretrial hearing

Guy Heinze Jr. awaiting trial in beating deaths of 8 people

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - The man accused of killing eight people in a Glynn County mobile home in 2009 sat in court Thursday as attorneys argued before a judge what evidence will be allowed at his trial.

Prosecutors plans to seek the death penalty for Guy Heinze Jr., but his defense team is hopeful that capital punishment will not be an option.

"The foundation of this entire system has rotted, and we have a situation where the operation of the death penalty in Georgia is flawed and is unconstitutional for the reasons mentioned in this motion," defense attorney Joesph Vigneri said.

"I think the Supreme Court of Georgia has ruled on this. I would stand by their ruling," prosecutor John Johnson said.

Prosecutors say Heinze killed members of his family and a friend inside a trailer using blunt force trauma. He has pleaded not guilty.

During Thursday's motions hearing, both sides admitted there is still DNA evidence that needs to be tested.

"I think our original agreement was when you need to come look at it, let's schedule a time for you to come look at," Johnson said.

In reponse, the judge made it clear that for the trial to move forward, lab work must be sped up.

"Are you're telling me that there's something rattling around somewhere that you might need to be tested?" Judge Stephen Scarlett asked. "Other than what Ms. Johnson spoke of? I am aware of nothing at this time."

Aside from the court's concerns, the defense team is trying to keep quiet pretrial publicity, attempting to keep cameras off their client.

"I'm not arguing with the court's ruling allowing the media to be here, but could we refrain from showing him coming and going in out and of the back room?" Vigneri asked.

Ultimately, it's up to the judge to decide.

The hearings resume Friday.

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