Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Heinze Jury Deadlocked on Deaths; but Guilty Verdict in Drug Charges Seems Likely

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Heinze Jury Deadlocked on Deaths; but Guilty Verdict in Drug Charges Seems Likely

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK, GA. | Having announced a 9-3 deadlock Thursday on the murder charges against Guy Heinze Jr., the jury in his death penalty murder trial nonetheless will keep deliberating.

The foreman of the eight-woman, four-man jury told Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett shortly after lunch they had reached a verdict on two drug charges but could not agree on eight malice murder counts and one of aggravated assault.

"Is it your opinion you are hopelessly deadlocked," or could further deliberations be fruitful, Scarlett asked the foreman.

When the foreman hesitated to answer, Scarlett told the jury to discuss the matter and advise him.

They went back to the jury room, but instead of returning to tell Scarlett whether they felt a verdict on all charges was possible, they came back at 2:30 p.m. to watch a videotaped walk-through of the crime scene. The videotape showed the bloody interior of the mobile home where, Heinze had told police, he came home early Saturday morning on Aug. 29, 2009, and found his whole family beaten to death. There was, however, one survivor, Byron Jimerson, who was 3 at the time.

No more was heard until about 6:15 p.m., when the jury came back to the courtroom. When Scarlett asked about whether they had made progress, the foreman said he didn't know because they hadn't taken a vote recently.

"We've got a couple of options,'' Scarlett said. "We've had a long day."

The choices were to take a break for the night and resume deliberations Friday morning, continue deliberating Thursday night or decide whether a verdict was even possible, he said.

"Take a break. Have dinner. Maybe reach a consensus where you are,'' Scarlett said.

An hour later, the jury asked to recess for the night. That is what the judge ordered. …

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