Public Defender Appointed to Represent DeRyke

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Published on September 17 2013 7:17 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham County Public Defender Scott Schmidt has been appointed to represent murder suspect Justin DeRyke.

DeRyke faces three counts of first degree murder for his alleged role in the death of his niece, seven-year-old Willow Long of Watson September 7 outside the home they shared.

DeRyke sent a note Monday from his cell at Effingham County Jail to the court, requesting Schmidt's appointment.  He had originally indicated he would hire his own attorney.  Judge Sherri Tungate notified Schmidt by phone Tuesday of his appointment to the case.

DeRyke is being held under $5 million bond.  He is due in court for his first appearance with his attorney Thursday at 1pm, but his case is also to be considered Wednesday by an Effingham County grand jury.