Iriwn Courthouse, Ocilla, where the grand jury has convened (Source: WALB)
The document of indictment (Source: WALB)
Ryan Duke in court (Source: WALB)
News media has gathered at the courthouse (Source; WALB)
Tara Grinstead (Source: WALB)
OCILLA, GA (WALB) -
An Irwin County Grand Jury heard evidence against the suspect charged in Tara Grinstead's murder today, and indicted Ryan Duke. Duke was arrested in February, 11 years after the Irwin County high school teacher went missing.
The grand jury, consisting of up to 23 Irwin County residents, went into the courtroom around 9:30 this morning. They found that there is enough evidence to indict Ryan Duke on burglary, aggravated assault, felony murder, malice murder, and concealing a death.
Court documents from his previous court appearance say he broke into Grinstead's Ocilla home and used his hands to kill her, then disposed of the body.
Attorney Ken Hodges, a former president of the district attorney association, and former DA of Dougherty County for 12 years, said the grand jury could take its time to reach a decision.
Unlike the trial, they had the opportunity to ask their own questions. As long as they are asking relevant questions, Hodges said District Attorney Paul Bowden should let them ask, but the DA likely won't let them go on forever.
"They shouldn't be there gossiping, or having a little discussion about any of the facts of the case," Hodges said. "If they are there to listen to the facts and determine legally whether or not there is sufficient probably cause."
Ryan Duke's case will go back to court to have a trial and an arraignment will be held.
Then the next question to tackle will be whether the case will be tried in Irwin County.
We'll have more updates on this story on air and online.