The man charged with murdering Georgia beauty queen Tara Grinstead failed to elicit much testimony from the longtime friend he hoped to blame for the slaying. Already incarcerated on different but related charges, the friend invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on Tuesday.
Ryan Duke has insisted that his co-defendant Bo Dukes (no relation) was Grinstead’s real killer, but the former made little headway making that case when the latter invoked his constitutional rights.
Questioned by Ryan’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant, Bo wouldn’t even disclose his name, how he got to court, or respond to being shown an exhibit.
“On the advice of counsel, I’ll be invoking my right not to provide testimony,” Bo intoned.
Bo Dukes is already serving a 25-year prison sentence, but just for burning Grinstead’s body in 2005. Prosecutors said that Ryan is the one who fatally struck Grinstead at her home after she caught him burglarizing it. He reached out to Bo for help, they said.
But Ryan–who initially confessed to authorities in a 2017 interview to killing Grinstead–walked back his admission in his testimony on Tuesday. He maintained that it was Bo who actually killed Grinstead some time on Oct. 22 or 23, 2005. In this version of events, Bo recruited roommate Ryan, who had passed out in their bathroom sick from drinking beer and tequila.
Ryan testified that Bo brought him to a pecan orchard, and showed him Grinstead’s body. Bo fondled the remains, he said. In this version of events, they took wood from a barn and burned the body. Ryan insisted that he never revealed the truth until under investigation in 2017 because he was afraid of what Bo might do, and that he made the false confession because Bo was never going to tell the truth.
Ryan emphasized that claim during cross-examination, saying Bo’s powerful family would have gotten him an attorney. Prosecutor J.D. Hart challenged him on this account, saying Bo’s family had written him off.
As Ryan testified, Bo was living with him and Ryan’s brother in a trailer at the time of the murder, but Bo did not contribute financially, only driving the vehicle-less Ryan around upon request.
In other words, Bo was a mooch. Ryan rejected Hart’s characterization that the men–who knew each other since high school–were “best friends.” Ryan maintained that he was only Bo’s “friend,” but he didn’t think Bo was ever his friend.
But witnesses said that you didn’t see one without the other, Hart told him of their relationship. As Ryan testified, they lived together in not one but two residences.
Ryan and Bo “were joined at the hip,” she said during cross-examination.
Hart also challenged the defendant on a call he made to Grinstead’s home and that he traveled to what–in his account–he believed to be the slain woman’s home. Ryan had said that he initially was trying to return Grinstead’s purse, which he believed Bo had stolen.
Ryan acknowledged under cross-examination that he was at the orchard with the dead body, that he touched the dead body (though he maintained it was only after he was told to), that he helped move the body, that he got the wood to burn the body, and that he was in the truck when they drove to the place where they burned her. He said he was only there one time, and he was not sure if Bo returned.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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