ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The man accused of killing teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead asked the Georgia Supreme Court to delay his trial just days before it is set to start.
Ryan Duke's murder trial was scheduled to begin this Monday, but Tuesday, his legal team filed a motion asking for a delay and for money from the state to pay for defense experts. The attorneys for Ryan Duke said the murder suspect's constitutional rights will be violated if he is not provided funding for expert witnesses prior to trial.
Ryan Duke was arrested in February 2017, more than a decade after Irwin County High School teacher Tara Grinstead disappeared from her Oscilla home. Investigators said Duke used a credit card to break into her home, strangled the beauty pageant winner, and then asked his friend Bo Dukes to help cover up the crime.
Prosecutors said the two did just that by burning the 30-year-old's body in the Dukes’ family pecan orchard over the course of several days.
Duke's case is being handled by three private pro-bono attorneys who argue the murder suspect is legally defined as an indigent person and therefore qualifies for the state funding exclusively afforded to public defenders.
They hope Georgia Supreme Court justices will grant their delay request.
Friday Tara's Grinstead's sister told FOX 5 News she was not moved by Duke’s tears and said if he felt any remorse, he would've confessed years ago.
Ryan Duke is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, and concealing a death.