Tara Grinstead's family no longer bound by gag order
OCILLA, Ga. -- A Superior Court judge modified a gag order put in place in the case investigating Tara Grinstead's disappearance on Friday.
Grinstead, a teacher from Ocilla, went missing in October 2005. Over 11 years after her disappearance, Ryan Duke was arrested and charged with her murder on Feb. 23. Authorities arrested a second suspect, Bo Dukes, on March 3 on multiple charges, including concealing Grinstead's death.
The initial gag order, signed by Cross on Feb. 28, barred all parties to the case, including law enforcement, witnesses and the families of Grinstead and the suspects--Ryan Duke and Bo Dukes--from speaking publicly about the case.
Duke's public defender requested the order to protect his right to a fair trial.
Lawyers from media outlets across the state argued that the gag order was too broad and should be narrowed in order to not infringe upon First Amendment rights.
Cross changed the gag order on Friday, no longer prohibiting Grinstead's family and potential witnesses from talking to the public.
Anita Gattis, Grinstead's sister, said the gag order gives her a bit more freedom.
Listen to the raw interview here:
"I just felt like my hands had been tied not being at to, you know, talk to the media," Gattis said.
She also said she's glad she'll be able to attend the court hearings.
"I don't think proceedings in a case like this the victim's family's should ever be excluded from facing the accuser," Gattis said.
Attorneys, law enforcement and court personnel are still barred from speaking about case evidence, statements, expected testimony and potential pleas.