Attorneys for an Effingham County man accused of killing his father and brother and severely wounding his mother have filed nearly 30 motions with the Effingham County Superior Court.
Dow Bonds, a Savannah attorney representing Craig Heidt, has asked the court for a change of venue and for presiding judge Gates Peed to recuse himself from the trial. Heidt was arrested in May for the August 2008 shooting deaths of his father Philip Heidt, a noted realtor and developer, and his brother Carey, also a realtor and developer. Linda Heidt, Philip’s widow and mother to Craig and Carey, was badly wounded in the incident that took place at Philip and Linda Heidt’s home.
The motions were filed Wednesday morning in Effingham County Superior Court.
In the change of venue motion, Bonds said the “atmosphere in the community in which he is to be tried is so inherently prejudicial that he cannot receive a fair trial.” He also stated that “media coverage of the case and predisposition of the jurors, through communication, gossip and innuendo, is such that an impartial jury cannot be obtained in Effingham County, the defendant cannot receive a fair trial.”
Heidt’s defense team also said that “repeated dissemination of these inflammatory newscasts, news articles via newspapers, public statements made by government agents and/or attorneys, associated with the case, and web ‘blogs’ and/or websites from the date of the incident to present, have misinformed, inflamed and prejudiced the venire in Effingham County to the extent the defendant would not be able to receive a fair trial.”
Bonds also charged that those reports have contained “misleading, inflammatory and inaccurate information.”
Bonds also asked Judge Peed to recuse himself based on information from a third party that the judge may have made “extra-judicial statements to the effect that the venue in this case would remain in Effingham County” and that a change of venue request would not be granted.
The recusal motion also said that Heidt believes Judge Peed to have been the judge in a domestic relations case he had.
Bonds also asked that the judge disclose any campaign donations made by Philip or Carey Heidt.