A trial is scheduled to start next week, but Heatley's lawyers
have signaled in recent days that a plea deal is near. Defense
lawyer Ed Garland said Thursday that he hopes the case will come to a
resolution at a hearing Friday morning.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes also said the plea
is expected Friday morning.
Garland declined to elaborate. Prosecution spokesman Erik
Friedly also declined to comment Thursday.
Heatley flew back to the United States on Monday from
Switzerland, where he started playing after the NHL lockout.
The 24-year-old is charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, a
felony. He also faces several midemeanors -- second-degree
vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving too fast for
conditions, failure to maintain a lane and speeding in connection
with the Sept. 29, 2003, car crash in Atlanta that killed 25-year-old teammate Dan Snyder.