Heidt case could get new trial date

By Michelle Paynter - bio | email

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Another stumbling block hit on Wednesday as the high-profile murder case against Craig Heidt heads to trial.

Heidt is accused of the August 2008 shooting deaths of his father Phillip Heidt and his brother Carey Heidt and the attempted murder of his mother, Linda Heidt.  It happened in the Heidt's home on Springfield-Egypt Road.

This was supposed to be the last motion hearing until jury selection next month. Jury selection is set for Aug. 16. But Heidt's attorney, Dow Bonds, told the court that he just learned he has a federal drug and money laundering case headed to trial for the same day. Typically, federal cases trump state cases, so it is likely the Heidt's trial could be postponed.

Judge F. Gates Peed said he's going to talk to the judge in the federal case about the scheduling conflict and will let the attorneys know by Friday if the trial will proceed as scheduled on Aug. 16 or whether it will be moved to another date.

Peed reminded the court on Wednesday that he has already summoned a jury for the second time. The case was supposed to go to trial in May, but Bonds had a personal conflict with that trial date.

Effingham County prosecutors told the court they have been ready to prosecute the case since November 2009.

Peed was disappointed. "I guess I ought not to say anything else," he said.

Also in court, Judge Peed ruled that he will allow family members, friends, and attorneys who knew Phillip and Carey Heidt to testify at trial about what the victims told them about problems they were having with Craig Heidt.  Even though this is considered hearsay, the judge said he would allow that testimony at trial.  Prosecutor Michael Muldrew said it will illustrate the motive for the murders.   "This testimony will be the highest and best evidence of prior difficulties between the victims and Craig Heidt," Muldrew said.

Peed, Muldrew and Bonds are also working on a plan to allow the jury to take a tour of the crime scene (the Heidt's home), once the trial begins.

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