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Man indicted in strangling death, attorney says he maintains his innocence
Diandre Dryden

A Gainesville man was accused in a Hall County grand jury murder indictment of strangling a woman and striking her repeatedly in the head, according to court documents.

Diandre Andreus Dryden, 23, was indicted Feb. 15 on charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in the Jan. 22 death of Latasha Smith, 34, of Buford.

Smith was found Jan. 23 in the grass outside of the Pointe Lanier apartments on Spring Road.

Gainesville Police said Dryden and Smith knew one another, but they have not disclosed the exact nature of their relationship.

Defense attorney Chris van Rossem said Dryden has maintained that he was not involved in Smith’s death. The attorney said he had hoped to have a probable cause hearing, but the case was indicted before that opportunity.

“I think what’s going to be most important moving forward … is figuring out who was where when,” van Rossem said.

Van Rossem did not elaborate further on the defense’s theory on the case.

“We’re still in the early stages of our investigation,” he said.