Attorney General's Office Withdraws from Heidelberg Case

Jul 21, 2017

Cleve Heidelberg and his Attorney Andy Hale during a hearing on July 21.
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The latest hearing for Cleve Heidelberg was a strike out for his defense attorneys.

On Friday, Peoria County Judge Al Purham granted a motion by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to drop its review of Heidelberg’s case.

Attorney Andy Hale, who’s representing Heidelberg, argued the Attorney General’s Office was “kicking the can” because Heidelberg hadn’t been interviewed for the investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Bill Elward was visibly irritated by Hale’s accusation.

“And it’s astonishing to me that Mr. Hale is going to say in court that we should interview the defendant, this defendant in a pending murder case,” Elward said. 

That sort of meeting would be considered an ethics violation.

But Heidelberg still has another legal decision pending in the Appellate Court in Ottawa, Ill.

“On whether Heidelberg is going to have his charges dropped, or there’s going to be a retrial. We believe very strongly that decision cannot be made by Jerry Brady or the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s office,” Andy Hale, who’s representing Heidelberg, said.

In an earlier hearing, Judge Purham determined the State’s Attorney’s office has a conflict of interest. It stems from a personal connection with the original prosecutor in Heidelberg’s trial in 1971.

On Friday, Hale sought to move Heidelberg’s cold case review to an investigation unit in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Judge Purham ultimately ruled in favor of the Attorney General’s Office and said having two separate legal avenues was “confusing.”

74-year-old Cleve Heidelberg was previously convicted of murdering a Peoria County Sheriff’s sergeant nearly 50 years ago. He was released in May.