Ryan Duke case to head back to Ga. Supreme Court before trial

Ryan Duke case to head back to Ga. Supreme Court before trial

OCILLA, Ga. (WALB) - Another hearing in the Ryan Duke case in the death of Tara Grinstead ended shortly after noon on Friday.

Judge Bill Reinhardt did not make a decision Friday, but the case is expected to go back up to Georgia Supreme Court before trial.

Both the defense and prosecutors will have to draft a proposed order on what they’re asking from Reinhardt. The Supreme Court will decide on what Reinhardt signs off on for the proposals.

Duke’s attorneys are asking that Reinhardt request the Georgia Public Defenders Council (GPDC) to pay for an investigator and three witnesses to defend Duke. They are requesting a doctor for a mental evaluation, a false confessions expert to assist with finding out if Duke was under the influence in previous statements, and a DNA expert for “True Allele” DNA.

They’re also asking for travel expenses to bring Emily Dukes, Bo Dukes’ wife from New York to testify.

“It is the state’s duty who is seeking to incarcerate Ryan. It’s their duty to provide those resources. Not mine. And for the public policy for people taking pro bono’s,” said Ashleigh Merchant, Duke’s attorney.

Reinhardt questioned how can he order the GPDC to do this when they aren’t involved in this case. He and prosecutors said since Duke’s attorneys took this case pro bono, that means they had the resources to do what they needed to do.

“How much is the government going to be called upon to equip your law firm to represent this client because y’all wanting to do this pro bono?” said Judge Bill Reinhardt.

The state is requesting the judge denies that motion, stating the funding the defense is asking for is not necessary.

Prosecutors said for DNA, the new true allele method is only being tested for the third person they found on the glove that was found at the murder scene. Prosecutors said Duke’s and the victim’s DNA were already proven multiple times to be on the glove since 2005. Prosecutors said they don’t need funding for Duke, as it has nothing to do with him. Prosecutors also said doctors have already been interviewed and they delivered their findings already.

“You’re saying True Allele has nothing to do with the identification of Ryan Duke? (Absolutely)! True allele, in this case, is only relevant as it relates to an unknown third person? (That’s correct)!” said Judge Reinhardt and Brad Rigby, District Attorney, Cordele Circuit.

Prosecutors say Duke’s and Grinstead’s DNA were always on the glove since 2005. They also argue the defense doesn’t need additional funding for doctors, saying a doctor has already been interviewed and delivered their findings.

Prosecutors believe the funding request is a waste of taxpayers dollars.

Prosecutors say they will start their draft next week.

It could be within the coming week or even weeks before Reinhardt makes a decision, according to prosecutors.

The Supreme Court heard the first appeal in May.

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