Danny and Kim Daniels Murders – Shock waves were felt across Santa Claus, Georgia, in December 1997, when Danny Daniels, his wife Kim, and their two children, Jessica and Bryant, were brutally murdered in their home. The killer also took three other children, one of them was the foster kid of the victim, from home.
“Shattered” Season 2 Episode 7 “Welcome To Santa Claus,” a documentary airing on Investigation Discovery, details the tragic event and the investigation that led to the perpetrator’s conviction. If you want to read more about this case, keep reading below.
Must Read: Where Is Survivor Amber Daniels Today?
How Did Danny and Kim Daniels Die?
On December 4, 1997, an intruder killed a Georgia couple who had their own two children and also fostered several others. The invader ran off with three of the couple’s other children.
A farmer who was driving along a country road 30 miles away eventually came upon the kids and brought them to safety. Heidler has been accused of taking the children hostage and running away from the site of the crime. Heidler was also charged with abusing a survivor from a far distance.
The sheriff of Toombs County, Georgia, Charles Durst, said that a man named Jerry Scott Heidler, who was not related to the children, was detained concerning their deaths. The Daniels family consisted of parents Danny and Kim, their daughter, age 16, and son, age 12. All were shot while sleeping.
Both of the couple’s biological kids, ages 10 and 8, as well as their foster child, a girl, aged 9, were kidnapped. The girls were left on the shoulder of a road in Bacon County, two counties south. Authorities were alerted by a farmer, and they, in turn, told the police in Toombs County. The 9-year-old girl’s foster brother, who was five years old, and a 10-month-old baby were the only ones found alive in the bloodied house.
Who Killed Danny and Kim Daniels?
The police investigated the area around the Daniels’ house, examined the crime scene, and questioned the two children who had been left there. Police found out that Jo Anna Moseley had hidden out with Kim and Danny to get away from her abusive family. She made fast friends with Amber, but Jerry Scott Heidler, Amber’s older brother, always seemed to be around.
The children who managed to escape the dasher lane massacre helped police track down Jerry Scott Heidler, whose real name was Scott Taylor. In the end, Jerry Scott Heidler was responsible for the deaths of the foster parents and two of the children. Twenty-year-old Heidler has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and burglary. Seventy miles west of Savannah was where you’d find the Daniels’ Santa Claus home. The streets in this municipality are all named after different types of reindeer.
Before the murders, Heidler had moved in with the family for a short time in an effort to kick his substance abuse problem. Heidler’s girlfriend, Jessica Daniels, had a stillborn baby two days prior, and he was understandably devastated. Heidler’s mother provided this. GBI agents tracked down Heidler to his mother’s Alma house, where he hid. During the proceedings, Heidler claimed, he had nightmares about the deaths.
When Heidler was four years old, his mother had open-heart surgery, rendering her unable to care for him. He was then split between two foster homes. Heidler’s foster mother of 11 years, Sylvia Boatright said he had imaginary pals and carried a stuffed mouse with him. “Scotty was terrified of the dark. To stab him from above was his worst nightmare.”
He moved back in with his mom and started attending a Baxley school for kids with special needs. His teacher, Marilyn Dryden, said that he picked at his skin to the point of bleeding.
On Friday, expert forensic psychologist James Maish of Augusta testified that Heidler had a severe borderline personality disorder. What finally led Maish to his conclusion was Heidler’s behaviour. “frantic efforts to avert real or imagined desertion,” “unrestrained rage,” and “suicide attempts” were among the eight symptoms he identified in Heidler.
What Happened to Jerry Scott Heidler?
Jerry denied involvement in the killings in court and entered a not-guilty plea. A jury found him guilty on all counts, including four counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping, and one count each of child molestation, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and burglary—the penalty of life in jail. Jerry was given a death sentence and 110 years in prison for this in 1998. He is currently incarcerated on death row in the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Butts County, Georgia.