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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Negotiated settlement deadline is Friday

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Dany Heatley will resolve his vehicular homicide case before he is scheduled to stand trial, a lawyer for the Atlanta Thrashers forward said Wednesday.

Dany Heatley

Lawyer Ed Garland would not say if Heatley plans to enter a guilty plea, but that appears to be his only option besides going to trial.

"I expect that we will reach a resolution of this case next Friday" on Feb. 4, Garland said. "That's as far as I'm going to go. This case is working itself to a resolution."

Heatley's trial was not expected to get started until the week of Feb. 7.

Another lawyer for Heatley, Don Samuel, told The Associated Press earlier this week that Heatley was moving closer to a plea agreement, though questions remained over his sentence and the impact a conviction would have on the Canadian citizen's immigration status. Garland told AP on Wednesday that negotiations with prosecutors are ongoing.

Prosecution spokesman Erik Friedly declined to comment. "We're not saying anything," he said Wednesday.

Friedly has said that if Heatley planned to enter a negotiated settlement, this Friday would be the deadline. A scheduled hearing that day has since been called off.

Heatley was indicted last July on vehicular homicide and five other charges in connection with a car crash in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood that killed Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder, 25, on Sept. 29, 2003.

Police estimated that Heatley was driving his black Ferrari convertible between 60 mph and 90 mph on a curved road in a residential area when it ran into a brick pillar and iron fence. Snyder died after several days in a coma, and Heatley broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee.

Heatley, the MVP of the 2003 NHL All-Star game, has been playing in Switzerland during the NHL lockout.

Samuel said earlier this week that defense lawyers were consulting with immigration experts to determine how a guilty plea would affect Heatley's ability to play in the United States. He also said that defense lawyers and prosecutors each had made an offer on a negotiated sentence, though he would not provide specifics.