Wednesday's must-read story in the AJC

A Georgia death penalty case may be dismissed because the accused sat in jail for years while the state tried to figure out how to pay for his defense. Across the state, similar money problems have postponed numerous death penalty cases.

In 2006, Jamie Ryan Weis was charged with killing a Pike County woman during a burglary.

The story might have ended there – had it not been for a series of missteps.

Pike County prosecutors had to indict Weis on two occasions because they forgot to put the names of the grand jurors on the initial indictment, causing a six-month delay.

Once the district attorney announced he was seeking the death penalty, Weis was appointed two private attorneys because the state Office of the Capital Defender had too many cases for its state-salaried defenders.

Then, in April 2007, Weis’ lawyers were told there was no money to pay for expert witnesses.

Nearly four years later, Weis’ case still hasn’t gone to trial – mainly because the state cannot pay for his defense.

Now, it’s possible that the charges against him could be dismissed – or the state might not be allowed to seek the death penalty – because Weis was denied his right to a speedy trial.