COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A 2015 high-profile murder case that started in Columbus and ended in Chambers County, Alabama is now giving prosecutors until May to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Stacey Gray.
He's charged with kidnapping and killing Renee Eldridge.
Family and friends of Renee Eldridge say they are in complete shock and disbelief as the murder case of their loved one takes an unexpected turn into a direction they never saw coming.
"Shocked about what we heard yesterday. You know nobody explained to us yesterday what happened," says Lisa Bryant, aunt of Renee Eldridge.
Eldridge was discovered missing from her home on 46th Street in Columbus on July 4, 2015.
Just three days later, her body was found in the Osanippa Creek under the Hopewell Road Bridge.
On February 12, 2016, a grand jury indicted Stacey Gray on one count of capital murder and one count of capital rape.
News Leader Nine asked Gray in September 2016 his thoughts as he faced the potential death penalty.
Gray said, "I just want everyone to know I am not the one who did this to that girl."
"When in September the death penalty was being sought in this murder case and then we go into the courtroom yesterday and we hear something completely different," says Bryant.
With bond set at 2 million dollars, Gray still remains in the Chambers County Jail today, but the Eldridge family left with unanswered questions regarding yesterday's decision.
Bryant says, "You have to have confidence and you know after yesterday, that confidence was diminished a little bit."
News Leader 9 reach out to the Chambers County District Attorney for comment on the recent decision to delay Gray's death penalty and we are still waiting for a response.
We'll continue to keep you updated as the latest information becomes available.