A Byron man charged with killing two Peach County deputies had his first court appearance in the death penalty case.
Tuesday was 57-year-old Ralph Stanley Elrod Junior's first hearing since the district attorney, David Cooke, filed notice to seek the death penalty. Elrod is accused of shooting Deputy Daryl Smallwood and Sergeant Patrick Sondron outside his home on November 6th.
WMAZ spoke to district attorney, David Cooke, over the phone and he says the defense team filed a total of 15 motions. One of those challenges the way the grand jury is selected. Cooke explained that this is a common motion in a death penalty case.
"It is simply challenging the makeup of the grand jury in every case and how those grand jurors are selected. This is simply a procedural matter and it's filed in almost every case. A lot of them are filed just to ensure that the defendant has a fair trial and that the procedure is fair to him,” explains Cooke.
He also says the recent updates in the Tara Grinstead case caused a slight delay with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation getting the report out.
"It was a primary thing that kept them from completing all the discovery that is getting us the entire case file so that we could serve that on the defense. I expect that they'll complete the case file in the coming days and weeks and that we'll go ahead and give the defense their copy of the file,” says Cooke.
He says Elrod's motion hearing and arraignment will be on May 22nd. Cooke says the defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty that day. He also says based on the hearing Tuesday he suspects Elrod will plead not guilty.