SPRINGFIELD - A Georgia man's lies to police, bruises on his arm and a family feud over his affair with his brother's wife all point to one conclusion - that he committed the 2008 shotgun slayings of his father and brother, a prosecutor told an Effingham County jury Thursday.
The jury of eight women and four men began deliberations in the murder trial of Craig Heidt, 42, after hearing closing arguments from lawyers on both sides Thursday.
Heidt's defense attorney, Dow Bonds, told jurors a lack of physical evidence linking Heidt to the crime amounted to prosecutors asking them to take "a leap of faith" and left plenty of room for reasonable doubt.
"It was hearsay, suspicion, rumor and gossip - that's what drove the investigation," Bonds said. "Next to sleeping with the brother's wife, the only thing more stupid is lying about it to the police. But those things do not make someone a murderer."
Heidt faces life in prison if convicted of murder in the slayings of his father, real estate developer Philip Heidt, and younger brother, Carey Heidt. Both men were killed in bed by shotgun blasts at the home of the defendant's parents in August 2008.
Craig Heidt is also charged with shooting his mother, Linda Heidt, in the face at close range. She survived the attack, but was unable to identify who shot her.
Prosecutors say Craig Heidt had motive to kill his own family. They had discovered he was having an affair with his slain brother's wife, Robin Rast Heidt, and were trying to stop the relationship.
"The man that is capable of sleeping with his dead brother's wife is capable of doing anything," prosecutor Michael Muldrew said in his closing argument. "He hated his brother, he hated his father and the only way he'd inherit any money to finance his lifestyle is to kill his father and kill his brother."
Craig Heidt denied committing the slayings and investigators never found the gun, the spent shotgun shells, or any fingerprints or blood to incriminate him.
Police did find three unfired shotgun shells in the defendant's truck. And they found bruises on his arm that a pathologist testified were likely caused by recoil from the stock of a large gun.
Muldrew also noted Craig Heidt at first lied about his affair when confronted by authorities. He also denied the shotgun shells could have been found in his truck, though he was an avid hunter.
Bonds told jurors a rush to judgment in building a case against Craig Heidt caused investigators to ignore other potential suspects. He noted Philip Heidt's real estate business was more than $10 million in debt at a time when the market was plummeting.
"There are so many questions," Bonds said. "And so few answers."