Brunswick (Georgia): A man was convicted on Friday of killing his father and seven extended family members in a mobile home they all shared, though prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.
Guy Heinze Jr., 26, was found guilty of eight counts of malice murder. But the judge in the case said shortly after the verdict was announced that prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty after a juror was dismissed earlier today.
Police charged Heinze with the killings six days after he reported finding the bodies to police. In a frantic call to police he cried: "My whole family is dead!"
Heinze`s younger brother, Tyler Heinze, started crying and was escorted from the courtroom after the verdict was read, yelling expletives as he left.
Prosecutors said Heinze had been smoking crack cocaine when he attacked his father and the others as they slept.
Police found the victims scattered between five rooms of the cramped mobile home.
Autopsies showed they suffered more than 220 wounds combined and each died from skull and brain injuries. No murder weapon was found, but police suspect they were beaten with a shotgun barrel.
Heinze`s defense team argued one person couldn`t have slain so many people without anyone escaping. They worked to persuade the jury that police ignored alternate suspects and evidence as they rushed to build a case against Heinze based entirely on circumstantial evidence.
Prosecutor John B Johnson told the jury in his closing argument Wednesday that a fight over drugs probably sparked the killings, which happened sometime between midnight and 5:30 am.
Police believe Heinze killed Rusty Toler Sr. With the barrel of a shotgun in the closet of the bedroom they shared because Heinze wanted to take a bottle of painkillers prescribed to one of Toler`s sons.