Defense requests change of venue for Ryan Duke trial

Ryan Duke in court on Feb. 23, 2017 (Source: WALB)
Ryan Duke in court on Feb. 23, 2017 (Source: WALB)
Updated: Nov. 13, 2018 at 10:32 PM EST
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IRWIN CO., GA (WALB) - New motions have been filed in the case against Ryan Duke in Irwin County.

WALB confirmed via text that defense attorneys Ashleigh and John Merchant filed more motions for their client, Ryan Duke.

The motions include both a request for a change of venue and a request for hundreds of dollars from Irwin County to pay for an investigator to go through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s case file on Tara Grinstead’s disappearance.

The motion for change of venue
The motion for change of venue(Irwin Co. Clerk)

BREAKING: Defense confirms it's requesting a change of venue in Ryan Duke's case, along with money from Irwin County to...

Posted by Emileigh Forrester WALB on Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Duke is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary and concealing the death of another.

Duke’s lawyers, Ashleigh Merchant and John B. Merchant III, are also asking for these concessions from the court:

- That the state only have one closing argument to the jury, in which it would only be allowed to rebut the defense arguments

- That the state not be allowed to read the grand jury’s indictment to the jury prior to opening statements

- That Ryan Duke’s friends and family be allowed to witness the trial, or cause be shown why they should not

- That Duke be given a jury list at least 10 days before the trial

- That an investigator be appointed to Duke’s legal team, or money be provided for that purpose

Hearing dates are set for November 26 and 27 in Irwin County Superior Court, where the judge will hear multiple motions filed in his case.

Irwin County teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead disappeared in 2005.

Duke was arrested in early 2017.

WALB is working to get copies of the new motions, and will update this story when those are received.

Bo Dukes, 34, was also arrested in connection to Grinstead’s disappearance.

Dukes is awaiting trial in Ben Hill County. He’s charged with concealing a death, tampering with evidence and hindering the apprehension or punishment of a criminal.

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