Defense attorney Dow Bonds has filed a nine-page brief, detailing his position why Craig Heidt should be granted a new trial for the August 2008 murders of his father Philip Heidt and brother Carey Heidt.
Bonds filed his brief Feb. 17 and said a shotgun that had been turned over to authorities near the end of the week-long December 2010 trial should have been investigated. The shotgun, a Remington 870 12-gauge, was similar to the one missing from the Heidt home and also capable of firing the rounds that killed Philip and Carey Heidt.
“The fact the state in its opening statement first detailed that it was their theory the murder weapon used was a Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun made the issue ‘relevant,’” Bonds wrote. “In the state’s brief, the assistant district attorney neither stated in his place that a ‘meeting’ occurred nor submitted an affidavit to the fact that a ‘meeting’ occurred during the trial where the existence of this shotgun was brought to the attention of the sheriff.”
The shotgun in question was brought to Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie by Walter David Dumas. Dumas had been asked to reassemble the shotgun by Robin Heidt, Carey Heidt’s widow. The state maintained that the defense knew of the weapon all along, since it was one of five guns turned over to the sheriff’s office for safekeeping and eventually returned to the family.
“Even more obvious is that the state did not and cannot point to anything contained in the actual certified record of the trial where a conference or meeting occurred between the assistant district attorney, the sheriff, the court and the defense counsel detailing the sudden existence of a shotgun delivered to the sheriff by Walter David Dumas,” Bonds wrote.
Bonds also said the state’s assertion that the defense chose not to act on the shotgun “is not only clearly erroneous but also false.”
Bonds also said the suppression of evidence favorable to the defense upon request is a violation of due process.
“Case law submitted supports the proposition that is not up to the assistant district attorney to decide what is relevant, what is not relevant or what is arguably or not arguably favorable to the defense’s case,” Bonds wrote, “especially when the same assistant district attorney made the issue relevant during his opening statements that accused the defendant of using an 870 12-gauge to commit the murders.”
He also said the suppression of the shotgun and the state’s refusal to produce state’s exhibit No. 2 “prevented the defendant from receiving a fair trial.”
Bonds also questioned the state not using an imprint test on the shotgun, to see if it matched marks made on the rear door of the Heidt home.
The prosecution has said a Remington 870 shotgun belonging to Craig Heidt and once kept in an outbuilding is the only weapon reported to be missing.
“If the defendant had been aware of the exact make and model shotgun the state accused the defendant of using … it is certain the outcome of the trial would have been different and at the very least, the defendant would have been closer to receiving a fair trial.”
Craig Heidt is serving a life sentence plus 85 years for the murders. Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Gates Peed is expected to rule soon on the motion for a new trial.