North Fulton County

Who should pay for legal experts in Grinstead case? Judge could decide in days

NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News is staying on a developing story surrounding the murder of missing teacher Tara Grinstead.

A judge could decide in just days if your tax dollars will help her accused killer hire expert witnesses.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas was in court Friday as the two sides in the very high-profile case argued whether state taxpayers or Ryan Duke's private defense team should pay for the experts.

[READ MORE: Defense team asks state to pay for legal experts in Tara Grinstead case]

Back in 2017, police say Duke confessed to the 2005 killing of Grinstead, but he now claims he was high on drugs and described to cops what another man did, not his own actions.

Thomas went to a nationally recognized expert on confessions. Brian Leslie mostly works for defense teams but is not directly involved in this particular case.


"The question would be, 'Who wrote the confession?' Did the individual write his own confessions? Was it an open-ended conversation?" Leslie said.

Prosecutors in the Grinstead case said Duke knew about parts of the case they had never talked about publicly. His alleged partner in the cover-up of the crime said Duke did it, as well.

"The vulnerability in this case would have been that he feared for his safety," Leslie said.

The National Registry of Exonerations says 223 of people who've been exonerated in recent years had falsely confessed, mostly in homicide cases.

"The information around the written confession is critical," Leslie said.

Once the judge makes a decision, it will then most likely go to the state supreme court.