Polygraph Operator Ken Blackstone Pleads Guilty to Perjury

Ken Blackstone
Ken Blackstone

Georgia polygraph operator Ken Blackstone has pleaded guilty to a single count of perjury, a felony punishable by one to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000 under Georgia state law. Blackstone committed perjury by falsely claiming during a court hearing that another polygraph examiner, Charles Slupski, had reviewed the charts of a polygraph examination that Blackstone conducted on Guy Heinze Jr., who was charged with, and has since been convicted for, eight murders and one attempted murder. Blackstone was sentenced to five years’ probation and a $1,000 fine.

Florida Times-Union reporter Terry Dickson writes:

Polygraph examiner pleads guilty to lying in Guy Heinze Jr. hearing
Kenneth Blackstone sentenced to 5 years probation, gets 2-year ban on criminal trial testimony

By Terry Dickson Fri, Oct 10, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

BRUNSWICK | A polygraph examiner pleaded guilty to perjury Friday for testifying falsely under oath in the Guy Heinze Jr. murder case.

Kenneth Blackstone, 63, of Stone Mountain pleaded guilty Friday to a single count of perjury over his testimony on July 18, 2013, in a motions hearing in Heinze’s case, District Attorney Jackie Johnson said in a release.

Superior Court Judge Roger Lane accepted Blackstone’s plea under Georgia’s First Offender Act, sentenced him to five years to be served on probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine, Johnson said.

Lane also banished Blackstone from the 5-county Brunswick Judicial Circuit and ordered him not to testify in any criminal proceedings in court for two years, Johnson said.

In the motions hearing, Blackstone said he had administered a polygraph to Heinze in which Heinze said he had not killed his father, Guy Heinze Sr., his father’s friend, Russell Toler Sr., Toler’s four children and sister and the boyfriend of Toler’s eldest daughter. It was Heinze Jr. who made the 911 call on Aug. 29, 2009 in which he told an operator he had come home to find his whole family “beat to death.”

One person survived the beating. Byron Jimerson Jr., the then 3-year-old son of Chrissy Toler recovered from a severe head injury.

Blackstone, who was hired by Heinze’s defense team, testified that the test indicated the Heinze was not being deceptive when he said he had not killed the eight victims.

When Assistant District Attorney John B. Johnson III questioned Blackstone about his methods, Blackstone said he had sent the charts from the polygraph exam to Charles “Chuck” Slupski, an independent expert in polygraph examination methods. The state had its own expert, retired Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent Jerry Rowe who told prosecutors that Slupski had been out of the country at the time and said he had not spoken with Blackstone about the Heinze examination.

Confronted with Slupski’s statement, Blackstone said something to the effect he had been caught.

Polygraph exams are not admissible as evidence but Heinze’s lawyers had intended to use the results as mitigation during sentencing if Heinze had been found guilty later. The defense withdrew the motion and a Glynn County grand jury later indicted Blackstone for perjury.

Heinze was found guilty in November of all eight murders and the attempted murder of Byron Jimerson and is serving life in prison.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

As of the time of this writing, Blackstone remains listed as a member in good standing of the American Polygraph Association, the Georgia Polygraph Association, and the Florida Polygraph Association.

Update (17 Oct. 2014): Ken Blackstone’s profile page on the American Polygraph Association member directory has been deleted.

Polygraph Operator Ken Blackstone Under Investigation for Perjury

Ken Blackstone
Ken Blackstone

Terry Dickson reports for the Florida Times-Union that polygraph operator Kenneth E. Blackstone of Atlanta, Georgia is under investigation for perjury in connection with a death penalty murder case:

Guy Heinze Jr.’s polygraph examiner under investigation for truthfulness in court
Posted: July 18, 2013 – 9:01pm  |  Updated: July 18, 2013 – 9:14pm

By Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK | A polygraph examiner who testified on Thursday in Guy Heinze Jr.’s death penalty murder case is himself the subject of a perjury investigation, an official said.

Testifying in a motions hearing, Kenneth E. Blackstone said Heinze showed no deception in saying that he had not killed his father and seven others in a mobile home on Aug. 29, 2009.

Blackstone said he asked Heinze three relevant questions: Did he physically assault anyone in the trailer, did he assault any of his family members in the trailer and did he cause the deaths of his family members?

Heinze answered no to all three questions, and the polygraph showed no deception, Blackstone said.

It was during District Attorney Jackie Johnson’s examination, however, that Blackstone got into trouble. When Johnson asked Blackstone if he had undertaken any quality control measures to ensure his findings were correct, Blackstone said at first he had reviewed it himself.

He said later, however, that about two weeks ago he had shown it to Chuck Slupski, who operates a polygraph examiners’ school in the Atlanta area.

He had shown the polygraph charts without Heinze’s identity to Slupski, Blackstone said.

“He said there was no deception,” Blackstone said.

Johnson then asked Blackstone if he was aware that Slupski was out of the country and had been in South Africa during the two-week time frame. Blackstone responded he may have shown the charts to Slupski earlier.

Johnson had intended to call Jerry Rowe, the director of polygraph for the Department of Juvenile Justice, as a witness to rebut Blackstone’s testimony after court reconvened after lunch, but it never got that far.

Heinze’s defense lawyer, Newell Hamilton Jr., withdrew his motion to have Heinze’s polygraph results used as evidence during the sentencing phase of the trial, should Heinze be found guilty.

Rowe said he had spoken with Slupski, who said he had not seen Heinze’s polygraph results nor talked with Blackstone about them. Slupski was willing to come to court and testify if necessary, Rowe said.

‘CAUGHT ME IN A LIE’

Greg McMichael, Johnson’s chief investigator, said he will conduct an investigation on whether Blackstone testified falsely.

Rowe, a retired Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent, said Blackstone’s examination would have been easy to refute because he didn’t use a necessary tool, a motion sensor in the chair of the person being examined. The movement sensor can detect when a person is tightening the sphincter muscles or doing other things to try to fool the test or reacting, Rowe said.

When Johnson asked Blackstone why he hadn’t used a motion sensor, he called them worthless and said they are used only in evidentiary examinations.

Johnson referred Blackstone to a section of the bylaws for professional polygraphers which says “a motion sensor is used in all cases.”

“You caught me in a lie,’’ Blackstone said. “I didn’t know that was in there.”

He then said he would always use the sensors in the future.

Outside the courtroom, Rowe said the motion sensors are essential.

“You’ve got to have the movement sensors, or the polygraph is no good,’’ Rowe said. “It’s for the person [under examination], too.”

Blackstone also erred in his choice of non-relevant questions on which he had Heinze purposely lie to show bodily responses to deception, Rowe said.

Blackstone posed questions on drug use to Heinze, an admitted drug user, so those responses would have contaminated the results, Rowe said.

There were also some glimpses of the case against Heinze in Johnson’s cross-examination of Blackstone, who had said he had familiarized himself with the crime scene and some of the evidence. She asked Blackstone if he was aware that Heinze’s bloody palm print was found beside the body of a victim or if he knew that drugs belonging to one of the victims were found in the console of the car Heinze was driving.

The drugs belonged to Michael Toler, 19, who was still alive the morning of Aug. 29 when Heinze called 911 and said he had found his whole family beaten to death. Toler, who had Down syndrome, died the next day.

The others killed in the mobile home at Good Hope Mobile Home Park were Guy Heinze Sr., 45; his close friend, Russell “Rusty” D. Toler Sr., 44; Toler’s children, Russell Toler Jr., 20, Chrissy Toler, 22, and Michelle Toler, 15; Rusty Toler’s sister Brenda Gail Falagan, 49; and Chrissy Toler’s boyfriend, Joseph L. West Jr., 30. Michael Toler was also Rusty Toler’s son.

Chrissy Toler’s son, Byron Jimerson, now 7, recovered from a severe head injury.

Until Thursday, jury selection for the trial was to begin in late September and the trial itself in October. Presiding Judge Stephen Scarlett met with Johnson and Hamilton after the hearing on scheduling, and the dates might change.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

Blackstone specializes in polygraph screening of convicted sex offenders and is the author of a book titled, Polygraph, Sex Offenders, and the Court: What Professionals Should Know About Polygraph… And a Lot More.