Prosecutors who won a conviction against a Georgia man in the slayings of eight people say they dropped a possible death sentence in a deal with defense lawyers that allowed them to avoid a mistrial.
A jury convicted 26-year-old Guy Heinze Jr. of malice murder on Friday, four hours after the trial judge excused one jury member and replaced him with an alternate juror.
Prosecutor John B. Johnson told reporters "a situation" with one juror had the jury deadlocked. Heinze's lawyers agreed to excuse that juror if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. Johnson says neither side wanted a mistrial, which would have meant trying Heinze again.
Heinze will be sentenced to life in prison, either with or without possible parole, for the Aug. 29, 2009 slayings.