A judge in Irwin County today scaled back her gag order in the Tara Grinstead murder case.

Judge Melanie Cross on Friday filed her order in response to a hearing last week where lawyers for several media companies argued that the gag order was unnecessary and too broad.

In the new order, Cross wrote that she's still concerned about protecting Ryan Duke's right to a fair trial.

Judge Melanie Cross heard arguments on the matter for about 45 minutes Thursday -- mostly from lawyers for media groups who said her order was unnecessary.

He's the Ocilla man accused of killing Grinstead in 2005.

Cross says investigators, lawyers in the case and other law enforcement officials may not comment on certain topics. They include the possibility of a guilty plea or a confession or physical evidence.

But they can discuss other facts about the case and the court process.

The order doesn't restrict the media from reporting on the case or block access to public records.

And Cross backed off on her earlier order that said all hearings in the case would be held behind closed doors.

Duke was charged with murder last month, more than 11 years after Grinstead went missing.

His case could be headed to the Irwin County grand jury next month.

When contacted about the revised order late Friday, GBI Special Agent J.T. Ricketson said he was not aware and would not comment until after he's read it.

Ryan Alexander Duke