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States high court to hear Heidt appeal
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The state Supreme Court will hear the appeal of an Effingham County man convicted in the August 2008 slayings of his father and brother.

Justices in the state’s highest court will hear Craig Heidt’s appeal of his December 2010 conviction in their September term. The case was placed on the docket May 7.

Heidt was convicted in the shotgun slayings of his father, noted developer and realtor Philip Heidt, and brother Carey Heidt. He was sentenced in January 2011 to two life terms plus 85 years.

Craig Heidt and his attorney Dow Bonds filed a motion for a new trial in January 2011, and Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Judge Gates Peed, who presided over the eight-day trial, ruled in February this year there was no merit for a new trial.

In his ruling, Judge Peed said "the jury could have found that the evidence reasonably excluded every other hypothesis, except that of the defendant’s guilt."

Bonds believed a shotgun, similar to the ones prosecutors said may have been used to shoot and kill Philip and Carey Heidt as they slept in their bedrooms at Philip Heidt’s home, brought to authorities during the trial should have been treated as newly discovered evidence.

That same shotgun, authorities said, had been turned over to the sheriff’s office earlier for safekeeping and was returned eventually to Carey Heidt’s widow, Robin Heidt Cave. Judge Peed said the shotgun had no exculpatory value.

Bonds also asked for the new trial, arguing that Judge Peed should have granted a change of venue and that the judge erred when he disqualified defense attorney Manubir Arora in April 2010. Judge Peed disqualified Arora because it was argued that Arora also represented a material witness in the case. The state Supreme Court earlier declined to consider that matter.

Bonds has 20 days from the date the case was placed on the Supreme Court’s docket to file a brief. Prosecutors will have 20 days from that date to file a response.