COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — It took less than 24 hours for two local prosecutors to react to the dismissal of murder charges Tuesday in Chambers County.
Stacey Gray was facing the death penalty if convicted of the 2015 slaying of Renee Eldridge, a woman abducted from her Columbus home. The case was dismissed when a Chambers County Circuit Court judge ruled he would not allow DNA evidence to be presented at trial, which was scheduled to start this week.
Right now, Muscogee County District Attorney Mark Jones and Russell County District Attorney Kenneth Davis tell News 3 they are looking into ways to prosecute Gray.
“All of our police are involved in the case,” Jones told News 3. “So, … I am not sure how the body ended up in Chambers County. But when I first met with the assistant DA in Chambers County, I was kind of like, ‘Why isn’t this our case?’”
Gray is wanted on rape and false imprisonment charges in Columbus stemming from a 2014 incident involving Renee Eldridge.
That’s the next legal step.
Columbus Police chief Freddie Blackmon tells News 3 those warrants will be served, and Gray will be extradited to Georgia.
Because one of the four murder crime scenes was in Russell County, Davis is looking at the likelihood of prosecution there.
“The Chambers County DA is sending me the case file for review,” Davis told News 3.
Jones says he will present the rape and false imprisonment charges to a Muscogee County Grand Jury. He didn’t rule out adding murder charges. But Blackmon says there was never a homicide investigation in Columbus.
“We are not bound by any ruling of an Alabama court on that sort of evidence,” Jones said. “We have been in pretty close communication with the victim’s father on the case. So, we are talking pretty much daily about what we can do and what can be done.”