October 18, 2013

Murder trial continued to November

Rachel Brown
rachelbrown@daltoncitizen.com

DALTON — Jonathan Colby Durden showed up to court Thursday morning cuffed, shackled and stating he was ready for the jury trial scheduled for less than two weeks away.

But the trial will be postponed at least another month as prosecutors wait on the state crime lab to return a piece of evidence that Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer said is needed to present the case.

Durden, 22, of 1067 Franklin Hill Road, was charged in April in the stabbing death of 28-year-old Ricky C. Grice Jr. of Walker County. Durden has pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. His attorney, Jerry Moncus, has said his client is “adamant about his self-defense actions, and it’s a case we expect to defend in every aspect.”

Moncus protested in Whitfield County Superior Court before Judge Cindy Morris on Thursday morning, saying he and his client are ready for trial. Durden has been in jail without bond since Grice died in April.

Kenemer said the crime lab test he is waiting on is the last one prosecutors are asking the lab to perform. He said he asked a lab representative to expedite the procedure but was told it definitely wouldn’t be ready for the Oct. 28 trial date that Durden and Moncus were hoping for.

State crime labs almost always have a backlog of work since funding for them has been cut in recent years.

Durden is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 15 so both parties can state if they are ready for trial.