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