Questions arise if accused killer attacked victim months before murder

Questions arise if accused killer attacked victim months before murder

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - More charges face the man accused of killing Columbus woman, Renee Eldridge, in July.

Columbus officials say they have served new warrants this week on Stacey Gray for a separate case of false imprisonment and rape.

Gray's charges in Alabama have been upgraded to include capitol rape, however his victim Renee Eldridge was also a victim of another attack last December in Columbus.

At the moment Columbus Police won't confirm if Gray's DNA was linked to that heinous assault on Eldridge months before her murder. However, some people are questioning if it turns out it was Gray's DNA, could he have been arrested sooner, and Eldridge still be alive?

"I think that there should be an investigation into whether or not Columbus Police Department submitted the unknown profile, DNA profile that they had on March 5 to the FBI," said attorney Kyle Fischer.

Fischer has questions for investigators who were initially focused on another man, his client, a Fort Benning Soldier, as the suspect in the 2014 attack on Eldridge.

Fischer claims his client was falsely imprisoned for 10 weeks before DNA evidence cleared him, although he was still officially listed as a suspect up until this week.

The soldier is now planning on suing the city of Columbus for his ordeal that was magnified by community concerns when Eldridge went missing July 4th.

"I truly believe his life was in danger," said Fischer, "He was called in to make a statement when she disappeared, there were a lot of people on social media who were putting about his name, private messaging his name, saying that he was a rapist, saying what kind of car that he drove."

Fischer explains that DNA from convicted felons are listed in national databases. Stacey Gray is a convicted felon after serving time in Ohio for assaulting two police officers.

Again there is a fresh warrant for Stacey Gray in Columbus for false imprisonment and rape however police will not, at this time, disclose the name of the alleged victim of that rape.

Our sources in law enforcement tell us that the results of DNA testing from that 2014 attack can only be revealed in the course of a trial. Police remind us that they do not release the name of rape victims, and neither does News Leader 9 as a matter of policy.

However, in a case where the victim is deceased and a previous rape could play a major role in the prosecution of the capitol murder case, those kinds of details would come to light at a later time.

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