Gang involvement, drugs not been ruled out in Brunswick slayings

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said investigators hand-delivered a "large volume of evidence" to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Atlanta for analysis late Thursday afternoon.

Doering said investigators of the eight slayings in a Brunswick mobile home have not ruled out gang involvement or drugs in the attack. But he declined to comment about the possible motive.

He also wouldn't comment about whether the killings were random or targeted someone in the trailer.

That question of random vs. targeted is also a concern for Guy Heinze Jr., who reported finding the victims when he returned home to the New Hope Mobile Home Park shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday.

Heinze, whose father was among the victims, doesn't know if he will be in danger when he is released from jail, said his defense attorney Ron Harrison.

"We're uncertain because we don't know why this happened. He should have been there at the time, but he wasn't," said Harrison, who would not say where Heinze was at the time.

Heinze has been in jail since Sunday on charges of tampering with evidence and lying to police about his whereabouts and the circumstances leading up to his frantic 911 call.

Bail money in hand, Heinze's family arrived at the Glynn County Detention Center at 9 a.m. Thursday to bail him out only to learn he won't be released until an electronic monitoring device a judge ordered him to wear was available. It may not arrive from out of state in time for Heinze to attend the visitation tonight or the joint funeral Saturday for his family, Harrison said.

"We had been led to believe he would be out [Thursday] or Friday at the latest, and now we don't know when it will be," said Harrison, who said his client's family has offered to pay for overnight delivery of the device.

"They are saying they are back-ordered," he said.

Before Glynn County Chief Magistrate Tim Barton set Heinze's $20,000 bail, county Sheriff Wayne Bennett said unless ordered by the court, he would not allow him to attend the services. Harrison said he may seek the order if the device doesn't arrive.

A man who answered the phone at Providence Community Corrections in Jesup said late Thursday afternoon he wasn't authorized to talk to the media even about the general availability of monitors. He promised to have his supervisor call the Times-Union, but she did not.

The company recently got the contract with Glynn County and will be using a more sophisticated type of monitoring bracelet that does not require the use of a landline telephone, county officials said.

When asked, Harrison wouldn't say whether they think authorities are using the device as an excuse to keep Heinze in jail.

"I'm not going to say they did it deliberately because I can't prove it," he said.

A joint funeral will be held for seven of Heinze's family members: his father, Guy Heinze Sr., 45; his uncle, Russell D. Toler Sr., 44; his cousins, Chrissy Toler, 22, Russell D. Toler Jr., 20, Michael Toler, 19, and Michelle Toler, 15; Russell Toler Sr.'s sister, Brenda Gail Falagan, 49; and Chrissy Toler's boyfriend, Joseph L. West, 30. All but West will be buried Saturday.

The lone survivor - Chrissy Toler's 3-year-old son, Byron Jimerson Jr. - remains in critical condition in a Savannah hospital.

Camden County Sheriff Tommy Gregory said Glynn police haven't given law enforcement in neighboring counties much information, other than a request for tips in the case.

"They haven't told me anyone to be on the lookout for," Gregory said. Typically, he said departments share information about suspect vehicle descriptions and other similar information if available.

That information just is not available, Doering said.

"There is nothing I can tell him to be on the lookout for. At this time, I can't tell my own people specifically what to be on the lookout for."

The reward rose to $50,000 Thursday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for one or more of the slayings. Brunswick contributed $15,000 to the combined $35,000 being offered by Glynn County police and Joseph Iannicelli, owner of the New Hope Mobile Home Park.

Silent Witness had received 19 tips about the case as of Thursday morning before the rewards were raised, police officials said.

Two mixed-breed dogs from the home remain in the care of county Animal Services personnel, said Capt. Marissa Tindale, head of the detectives division of the police department.

Police found Buddy, a large dog, tied up on the front porch, and Chico, a Chihuahua-terrier mix, running free at the home. Neither dog was injured, Tindale said.

A man living next door to the family said he heard dogs barking Friday night and Saturday morning, but heard no shots or any other alarming sounds.

Margaret Orlinski, another neighbor, called 911 after a frantic Heinze Jr. told her his whole family was dead. She told the dispatcher that Heinze said he has a dog on the porch that might bite.

Later in the call, Orlinski said, "He's usually very gentle. He doesn't like some people."

A maintenance man tells the dispatcher he has a knife to cut the dog loose and get it out of the way of arriving police. The dispatcher's supervisor then tells him to go ahead and handle the dog.

Authorities said Buddy is wary of people, but has not been aggressive toward Animal Services staff. Chico has been docile and affectionate.

The dogs likely will remain in county custody until it's determined who will care for them, authorities said.

Times-Union writer Paul Pinkham contributed to this report.

teresa.stepzinski@jacksonville.com, (912) 264-0405


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