IRWIN COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia judge Melanie Cross said she would wait several days before deciding whether to lift the gag order in the high-profile case of a murdered missing teacher.
Tara Grinstead, a former Irwin County high school teacher, disappeared in October 2005 and the case still effects the small county of 9,000 people.
Last month, the judge sealed all records of the case, ordering any hearings be done behind closed doors and in her chambers.
Media lawyers say the gag order is unconstitutional and Grinstead's family joined in their fight, saying such a broad motion violated their First Amendment right to talk about the case.
Bo Dukes and Ryan Duke are facing charges in her murder.
Dukes and Duke were high school classmates at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught.
Public defender John Mobley asked for the gag order just after his client Ryan Duke was arrested.
A week later, police arrested Bo Dukes on charges including concealing a death and tampering with evidence.
The suspect’s lawyer and prosecutors say Ryan Duke can’t get a fair trial unless the judge orders police, witnesses and even the victim’s family members to keep quiet about what they know.
Anita Gattis, Grinstead's sister, said she’s known Bo Dukes’ family for years, but never connected him with her sister’s disappearance.
She said during the time of all the searches for Tara Grinstead in 2005, she stayed in Ocilla with relatives of Bo Dukes.
“They were some of the most heartbroken people in the area over Tara’s disappearance,” she said.
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