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Friday, July 23, 2010 - 12:28pm

Crime Lab Blamed in Heinze Delay

The backlog of cases at the state's crime lab is slowing down one of Georgia's most notorious murder investigations.

Guy Heinze, Jr. is awaiting trial on charges he beat to death eight people, including seven members of his family in a Brunswick mobile home last year.

He's also charged with beating a surviving three-year-old.

The case attracted international attentional for its brutality.

Investigators now say it might take until the end of the year before the state's back-logged crime lab can analyze blood, fiber, video and other evidence.

Jerry Word of the Georgia Capital Defenders office says cases up and down the criminal justice spectrum are being delayed.

"It's having more of an impact and slowing down the cases that are more routine, like murder cases that aren't death penalty cases, drug cases, those types of cases where they're backlogged and it's taking longer and longer for clients to go to court," Word says. "If law enforcement can't do their job, then the courts can't do their job."

The state's crime labs have come under increasing pressure because of the repeated budget cuts.