Looking for a New Trial

Seven years to the day after a heinous double murder in Wakulla County, one of the convicted triggermen was in court trying to get a new trial.

Convicted killer Guerry Hertz was in front of the same judge and same attorneys who were there when he was sentenced to death four years ago.

The victims' families were there too, sitting and sobbing as they faced their loved one's killer once again.

The memory of that sobering Sunday weighs heavily on the minds of folks in Wakulla County.

“Normally what would have been a holy day in Wakulla County turned into a hellish day, a horrific day.”

Major Langston remembers the day investigators found Melanie King and her boyfriend Keith Spears shot and bound, then burned to death inside their home. The three killers were caught and tried years later.

Now, on the seventh anniversary of the crime, the accused ring leader is back in court, claiming his lawyer didn't do his job and didn't tell the jury about his many disabilities.

“From a forensics position, there was a brain of a 14-year-old inside the house committing that crime.”

Hertz's attorney presented a laundry list of problems with the original trial, but the state held strong, contending it was fair and just.

“They have received the death penalty; how long it will take? No one knows. After this we anticipate the judge will deny their motion for post conviction relief.”

Meggs says all the appeals could take years maybe even a decade, making it difficult for many in this close knit county to begin the healing process. “Regardless of the hearings it will be just as fresh as it was then.”

The second convicted killer in this case, Jason Looney, will appear in court tomorrow for a similar appeal hearing.

The third man, Dempsey, confessed and testified against Hertz and Looney. He received two life sentences back in 2000. He is currently carrying those out.