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US man gets life without parole in killings of 8

October 31, 2013

BRUNSWICK, Georgia (AP) — A U.S. man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the killings of his father and seven others beaten to death inside the mobile home they all shared.

Guy Heinze Jr. was sentenced Thursday less than a week after a jury found him guilty of malice murder in the August 2009 deaths. Prosecutors spared 26-year-old Heinze from a possible death sentence last week as part of a deal with defense attorneys.

Under Georgia law, Heinze faced an automatic life sentence once the death penalty was not an option.

Heinze’s attorneys say he’s innocent.

In a frantic emergency call made the morning the bodies were discovered, Heinze cried out: “My whole family is dead!”

Prosecutors said Heinze had been smoking crack cocaine when he killed his father and the others, all members of an extended family. They said he killed the first victim in a dispute over a bottle of prescription painkillers he wanted to steal, then killed the others to avoid getting caught.

Each of the victims died from multiple crushing blows to the head. The murder weapon was never found.

The attack happened in the middle of the night, and most of the victims were found in bed. Defense attorneys argued a single assailant couldn’t possibly have inflicted such carnage. They insisted that police ignored evidence and alternate suspects in a rush to accuse him.

Heinze had told police he found the victims’ bodies after returning from a late night away from home.

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