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Tara Grinstead Case: Ryan Duke's lawyers file emergency appeal to Georgia Supreme Court

Duke's lawyers say the case is currently on hold.

MACON, Ga. — The trial for the man accused of killing Tara Grinstead is now on hold. That's according to his lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant.

Tuesday morning, Duke's lawyers, John and Ashleigh Merchant, filed an emergency appeal to the state Supreme Court to halt his trial.

RELATED: Ryan Duke says he was asleep when Tara Grinstead was murdered

They argue that the state should pay for an investigator to help the defense prepare their case.

Irwin County Judge, Bill Reinhardt, previously denied their request.

The judge said Duke forfeited his right to state help when he chose to be represented pro bono (for free) by private counsel, rather than a public defender.

The Merchants say that's unconstitutional -- and Duke needs an expert witness to ensure he has a fair trial.

The defense says the biggest issue is that they need technical help to analyze DNA evidence being used against Duke (a small amount of skin cells in a latex glove). 

RELATED: 'I failed Tara Grinstead:' Bo Dukes sentenced to 25 years, speaks at his own hearing

A motions hearing was scheduled to start Wednesday in Irwin County. Now Ashleigh Merchant says that's postponed until the state Supreme Court rules.

Duke's trial was scheduled to start Monday morning in Irwin County Superior Court.