Guy Heinze Jr., the son of one of the victims of last week’s killings of eight people in a southeast Georgia mobile home, has been arrested on eight counts of first degree murder, police said Friday.
“This arrest is the result of a compilation of physical as well as testimonial evidence,” a police statement said. More details were expected at a police news conference set for Friday evening. Heinze, who is unemployed, told police he was not home when the killings occurred. He had been arrested on charges of having a controlled substance and marijuana, as well as tampering with evidence and making false statements to a police officer, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said. According to the earlier arrest warrant, Heinze provided “investigators with false and misleading information about his whereabouts and involvement in the circumstances leading up to him calling 911 to report the deaths of his family members.” The arrest warrant also said he removed a shotgun from the residence and hid it in the trunk of his car. A man identified as Heinze reported the slayings. He told an emergency dispatcher when he called Saturday, “I was out last night. I got home just now, and everybody’s dead. … My whole family’s dead. It looks like they’ve been beaten to death.” Seven of the eight victims will be buried Saturday, as a 3-year-old who was injured struggles to survive at a Savannah hospital. The toddler’s grieving grandmother, Diane Isenhower, who lost four of her children in the rampage, said the child is on life support. Police said seven of the victims died in the mobile home, and the eighth died Sunday at a hospital. The funeral for Joseph L. West, 30, is to be held at mid-month. For the other seven, viewing was scheduled for Friday night, and a funeral is to be held Saturday afternoon at Youngs Island Church in Eulonia, Georgia. West was the boyfriend of Chrissy Toler, 22, who died along with her father, Russell D. Toler Sr., 44, and three siblings: Michelle Toler, 15; Michael Toler, 19; and Russell D. Toler Jr., 20. Michael Toler had Down syndrome. Russell Toler Sr. and Isenhower were divorced. Also killed were Guy Heinze Sr., 45 and Brenda Gail Falagan, 49, police said. Clint Rowe, whose wife is Isenhower’s sister, said the family was having trouble coping with the losses and noted that police, too, were affected. “They’re the ones who walked in on that, so you know it wears on the police as well,” he said. Referring to Isenhower, he added, “It has been a long week for her. She’s lost all of her family, so naturally it would be.” “They’re just as nice as they could be,” Rowe said of the victims. “Friendly folks. Down-to-earth folks.” Watch Rowe talk about the killings Russell Toler Sr., who worked at a nearby factory, was a generous man who allowed relatives facing financial and health problems to live with him. There were 10 people in the mobile home, and their combined salaries were low, Rowe said. Among them was Toler’s sister, Falagan, who was in a wheelchair. Police have not said how the victims died, although autopsies were completed Monday. The bodies were discovered Saturday at New Hope Plantation mobile home park, north of the Atlantic coastal city of Brunswick. Police have released few details of the crime scene.
Doering acknowledged that there is fear in the community but said that releasing details of the slayings won’t allay it. “We, too, have that same fear. We’re the ones that have to get out there and try to make people feel better as best that we can,” he said.