San Diego

Attorneys for California Highway Patrol Officer Craig Peyer have filed a motion to exclude the press and public from his preliminary hearing, where prosecutors will try to persuade Municipal Judge Frederic A. Link that there is enough evidence to require Peyer to stand trial for murder in the slaying of Cara Knott.

The motion is one of two filed Friday by attorney Diane Campbell. She said the other motion is a discovery motion that deals with evidence in the case. Link is scheduled to hear arguments in support of the motions next week, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 20.

Peyer, a 13-year CHP veteran, is accused of strangling Knott, 20, and throwing her body off a bridge near the Mercy Road off-ramp of Interstate 15 while on duty the night of Dec. 27. He is free on $1-million bail after his family and friends raised $100,000 in cash to pay the bail premium.

Robert Grimes, the lead defense attorney in the case, said he may ask for a change of venue because of widespread publicity in the case if Peyer, 36, is bound over for trial. Peyer was suspended without pay after his arrest Jan. 15 but was reinstated to his $33,000-a-year job 15 days later.

CHP officials said they were required by CHP employment rules to put Peyer back on the payroll because they are still conducting an internal investigation and have not fired him.

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