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Guy Heinze Jr., who had been arrested after reporting 8 members of his family brutally killed, is due to be released on bond. Authorities have revealed little information regarding the investigation, and have neither named him, nor excluded him as a suspect. Does his release indicate anything about the investigation?
As reported by AP, eight members of Heinze's family were slain in the Georgia mass killing, including his father, an uncle and several cousins. The lone surviving victim, a 3 year old boy, remains in critical condition.
Heinze purportedly found them after returning to his mobile home in Brunswick, Georgia at 8am last Saturday. After frantically calling 911, he was subsequently arrested. Heinze's charges included tampering with evidence, obstructing law enforcement and possession of marijuana. The Brunswick News reports that Heinze admitted to removing a shotgun from the house, and admitted the shotgun was stolen.
His $20,000 bail included provisions that will force him to where a tracking device, and remain at home (actually at a relative's house) except when going to work. According to his attorney, Heinze is apprehensive because he believes the killer to be on the loose.
Police are being tight lipped about the case for fear of hampering their investigation. This has left many in Brunswick nervous, eager for information about a mass murderer that may still be in the area. It also has many wondering what, if anything, it means that Heinze was released on bond.
First of all, a bond, in this context, is simply a way of putting up bail. Courts determine the bail amount and defendants who cannot pay the entire amount often post a bond -- a promise to pay the entire amount should they fail to appear at trial.
When determining the amount of bail (and whether to award it at all), courts take into account what will be required to insure that the defendant appears at trial, along with the safety of the community. In this case, because he has not been charged with any sort of homicide, bail was likely geared toward his returning for trial on the drug, evidence tampering and police obstruction charges.
As far as whether his release indicates that he is not a prime suspect in the murders, one cannot say for sure. However, a bail amount of only $20,000 might be viewed as indicating that the court and prosecutors do not perceive him to be a flight risk or a tremendous threat to the community. If he were a top suspect in 8 (possibly 9) murders, one would expect either no bail, or a much higher bail amount to prevent him from fleeing or harming others.