The widow of an Effingham County man shot and killed along with his father in his father's home testified Friday to having an affair with her late husband's brother and said he denied having anything to do with those killings.
Robin Rast Heidt told jurors in the murder trial of Craig Heidt that she and Craig had an affair while her late husband Carey was still alive and the affair resumed and continued after Carey was shot and killed.
She also denied having any role in the deaths of Philip and Carey and the wounding of Linda Heidt, Philip's wife and Carey's mother.
"Did you encourage, aid, abet or otherwise assist in the killing of your father-in-law and husband and wounding of your mother-in-law?" asked Assistant District Attorney Michael Muldrew.
"No, I did not," Robin Heidt said.
Craig Heidt has been charged with the shotgun slayings of his father, realtor and developer Philip Heidt, and his brother in August 2008. Prosecutors have pointed to an affair between Craig and Robin as causing a rift in the Heidt family and ultimately leading to the shooting deaths of Philip and Carey.
Robin Heidt told the court her husband was a good provider for her and their three children.
"We had a good, prosperous living," Robin Heidt said of her life with her husband. "He was a very good husband. When he was there, he was a very good father, a wonderful father."
But as he spent more time at work and less time at home, she said, her late husband became more distant. She said she did not realize the real estate market was not doing well, since Carey did not discuss those things with her.
The affair begins
Robin and Craig began their affair in April 2008 and between then and the morning of the killings, she estimates they were intimate with each other about 20 times. Craig Heidt was living in a cabin on a hunting club near Oliver.
She told her husband about the affair in May, Robin Heidt said, and they seeking counseling. She described her husband as being very upset upon hearing of the relationship between Craig and Robin.
"He said he wished it would have been anyone else except his brother," she said. "He said he wasn't going to allow this to happen. He said we were going to work this out. He said Craig would never be a part of the children's lives."
Robin Heidt said she didn't know when Carey's father was made aware of the affair, but once he learned of it "Philip was very angry and upset with me," she said.
"One night, I went to Mr. Philip's office and told him to stay out of it," she said. "He said he couldn't because it was family."
She also recalled a tense encounter with Philip at her and Carey's home.
"Look around you," she told the court of what Philip said to her. "These are things Carey can give you. Craig can't. You don't understand him. You don't know how he is. I said, ‘it's not about these things.'"
That exchange took place about a week or two before Philip and Carey were killed, she said.
Robin said her relationship with Linda Heidt also became distant during this time.
Meanwhile, her affair with Craig continued.
"At the time, I felt Craig was giving me attention Carey wasn't giving to me," Robin Heidt said.
The weekend of the shootings, Robin Heidt was supposed to go to a slumber party for a teacher at Guyton Elementary School, where she was a paraprofessional. But one of the other teachers fell ill and since she wasn't expected to be at home that night, she instead went to Craig's cabin.
That Saturday morning, a helicopter appeared overhead and lingered for a few minutes.
"I said, ‘it's probably someone Mr. Philip had hired to fly over and see if I was here,'" Robin said.
The helicopter belonged to Ellis Wood, a Statesboro businessman who had worked with Philip and become a close personal friend of Philip and Carey's. Wood testified Friday that Philip had called him about a matter that "was tearing his guts out." Though Philip wouldn't say what it was at the time, Wood said he could tell his friend was disturbed by it.
Robin said she and Craig talked about the situation and about how they believed Philip was meddling and trying to control the situation.
"He said if his father were on fire, he would not urinate on him," Robin told the court. "He made a comment that if Philip and Carey were not careful, he would go old school on them."
Robin Heidt said she did not know what he meant by that.
She returned home Sunday to make lunch for her family after Carey returned with the kids from church. He left later that afternoon to spend the night at his parents' house on Springfield-Egypt Road but planned to return to their home on Ebenezer Road in the morning to take the kids to school.
"This would be the first night in 13 years he would have spent the night at his mom and dad's house?" Muldrew asked.
She awoke at her house Monday morning to three officers banging on her door. When she let them in, they told her Philip and Carey had been killed and Linda had been badly wounded and taken to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah.
Reaction to murders
"I was in shock," she said. "I felt I couldn't breathe."
When Craig Heidt called her later, she said he was crying.
"I asked him if he had anything to do with this, and he said no," she told the court.
Later, in a face-to-face meeting, she questioned him again, she said.
"I want you to look me in the eye and tell me if you done this or not," Robin Heidt said. "And he said, ‘no.'"
They resumed their relationship in December and at first, he spent about four nights a week at her home, she said, before he moved in full-time.
"We had each other," she said. "I lost ... I lost a lot more than Carey. I lost probably every friend I had because of my relationship with Craig. I had a best friend for 15 years and she stayed with me for another month and then she left.
"It was very stressful. My family wanted to be there for me, but they didn't approve of the relationship."
Craig moved in full-time in January, Robin Heidt said. Her mother was living in Charleston, S.C., and couldn't help her much.
"Craig offered to help with the children and the horses," she said.
Though the children were unaware of the relationship between their mother and their uncle, they did things together as a family, she said, going bowling and going on a trip to the mountains. Robin said there was money for the children from a trust fund Carey had left through a life insurance policy.
Robin Heidt also testified she was taking a lot of medications through this period.
"I just didn't deal with anything. I didn't want to deal with the public," she said. "I was having a hard time dealing with the guilt I had with Carey dying so hurt."
She and Craig even mentioned getting married and went to purchase rings. They also had planned to move to Charleston after the end of the school year. Craig Heidt was arrested on the last day of school for the 2008-09 school year.
"We did look like a family. We did act like everything was fine," Robin Heidt said. "But it was wrong."
Robin Heidt also said she was having second thoughts about having Craig move with her and the children to Charleston. She testified she told her sister-in-law she would rather have Craig not come with them and also told Darren Thomas of First Baptist Church of Springfield that she was having a hard time.
"I didn't want to hurt Craig," she said, "but I was ready to move on"
When Thomas explained to Craig that it was best for her and the children to go on alone, she said, Craig replied, "No, I'm going with her."
Robin Heidt said she has not had any contact with Craig since February.
GBI Special Agent John Barry, who interviewed Craig and Chris Heidt as part of the early stages of the investigation, said the murders are a "whodunit." Barry also discussed an hour and a half long interview conducted with Craig Heidt at the Effingham County Sheriff's Office just a few days after the deaths of Philip and Carey Heidt.
Barry said they investigated every lead, from those concerning the Heidts' business dealings to those called into a tip line.
"Everybody was a suspect in this," he said.
In the interview, which was played for the court, Barry asked Craig Heidt about an affair with Robin. Craig Heidt repeatedly denied it ever took place. He said Robin had come to his place Saturday morning to take a shower to get ready for a baby shower.
"I know it looks bad," Craig Heidt said. "But I'm going to tell you something - I could never do that to my brother. I could not do to that my brother."
Barry also asked Craig if he and Carey had drawn weapons on each other over Robin.
"No, sir! No, sir!" Heidt replied.
Barry also said Robin Heidt had told investigators about the affair.
"What if I said Robin said you've been having sex with her?" Barry asked him.
"That's not true, sir. I'm being truthful with you. I have not had sex with Robin," Heidt replied.
"She's a liar?" Barry asked.
"No, sir," Heidt answered.
"In your heart, do you think Robin had Carey killed?"
"No, sir. ... There is no way - there is no way Robin had anything to do with that."
Barry also asked Craig Heidt what should happen to whoever killed his father and brother.
"They ought to be executed," he said. "I mean put them away - put them away."
Barry also Craig Heidt told investigators he spent the night of the killings at his home near Oliver watching hunting and fishing shows and a rodeo on TV.
Real estate agent testifies
Real estate agent Christy Campo testified that Craig Heidt called her in August about property in Screven County near Newington that she had listed. She had a house and 2 acres listed for $235,000, with 49 acres also available at $7,000 per acre. He also could buy the house and 2 acres, and an additional 20 acres, for $325,000.
When she inquired as to why he didn't go through his father and brother, she said Craig explained that his relationship with his family was not good at the time.
"I'm the black sheep," she said of what he told her.
Craig also told her that he would not "(urinate) on his father if he were on fire," she said.
When she was interviewed by ECSO investigators in September, she did not include that in her written statement. She asked Craig how he intended to raise the money to buy the land and he told her he had some timberland for which he had been made an offer, Campo said.
When she went to look up tax records, she told the court, she didn't find any tracts of land with timber belonging to Craig Heidt, though such land also could have been placed under a corporation with a different name.
Craig Heidt's son Josh, 22, also testified about the strained relationships in the family. After his parents divorced when he was 15, he said he became closer with his grandfather, Philip Heidt, and admired his grandparents.
"They were role models," he said.
Josh Heidt also said the affair deeply upset his grandfather.
He also said that while he and his father and a friend of his father's went hunting, they only went occasionally. Josh Heidt also said he confronted his father about the affair with Robin, telling him he didn't condone it nor approve of it.
He also said there was a spare key to the deadbolt lock of the back door that was kept outside and its whereabouts were known to family members.