Advertisement

Trial for man charged in Tara Grinstead’s death underway

Ryan Duke is standing trial in connection to the death of Tara Grinstead. (Source: WALB)
Ryan Duke is standing trial in connection to the death of Tara Grinstead. (Source: WALB)
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 8:59 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OCILLA, Ga. (WALB) - The trial for the man charged in connection to the 2005 death and disappearance of an Irwin County teacher and beauty queen started Monday morning.

Ryan Duke is standing trial in connection to the death of Tara Grinstead.

WATCH TRIAL COVERAGE:

Tara Grinstead death trial begins

The trial for the man charged in connection to the 2005 death and disappearance of Irwin County teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead starts this morning. Ryan Duke is standing trial in connection to her death.

Posted by WALB News 10 on Monday, May 9, 2022

In opening statements on Monday, the state told the jury to keep in mind that Duke confessed to Grinstead’s murder. The state also pointed to evidence that will be presented at trial, including a translucent glove that was found and blood on Grinstead’s comforter.

The state argued that in February 2015, Duke admitted he killed Grinstead. The state argued that in Duke’s confession, he said he broke into Grinstead’s home, went through her purse, she reacted and he hit her and she died. The state also argued that in Duke’s confession, he admits to making a phone call, giving directions to where to find Grinstead’s body before he “cremated her.”

The state argued that Grinstead was found piece by piece — bone fragments of her backbone, fingers and toes being found.

Opening statements got underway in the Ryan Duke trial Monday morning. Duke is standing trial in connection to the 2005...

Posted by WALB News 10 on Monday, May 9, 2022

The defense argued the case is about power and influence. The state argued that Duke has neither and that Bo Dukes, who was sentenced to charges related to Grinstead’s death in Wilcox County, has both.

The defense argued that the state’s theory is based on a statement that was taken from Duke and is not the truth.

The defense argued that Duke did none of the things he’s indicted for in connection to Grinstead’s death.

Both sides also reconstructed what happened in October 2005. That’s when Grinstead was first reported missing.

Billy Grinstead, Tara’s father, took the stand on Monday. He testified the last time he saw Tara was at a church fundraiser and visited with her afterward. He said he spoke to her often.

Danielle Giddons, who knew Tara from the pageant world, testified about seeing Tara in October 2005. Giddons, who was 16 at the time, testified that Tara coached and helped her with her makeup. She also testified that she had been to Tara’s house several times. She testified was one of the last times she was at Tara’s house was to borrow some earrings for a pageant. She said Tara or anyone else was not home at the time. She also testified that Tara was in a great mood because it was the day of the pageant.

Some of the longest testimony came from Heath Dykes, a man who dated Tara.

Dykes left several voicemails on the night after Tara was last seen. What started as concern turned to panic. In one voicemail, the court could even hear what Dykes claims was him knocking on her door, pleading for her to answer the phone.

Since Dykes had been at Tara’s home late Sunday night and early Monday morning at 1a.m. looking for her back in October 2005, he was asked about the latex glove found near Grinstead’s home — a key issue in both the state and defense’s argument.

“I was fixated on getting to the door. I was okay. She’s here. (I) had tunnel vision straight up to the front door I wasn’t at that point in time looking for items,” he testified.

One of Tara’s neighbors at the time did take the stand afterward. He testified that Monday morning after Tara had not reported to school he did see the glove.

A number of other friends, family and coworkers of Tara’s also took to the witness stand on Monday.

Copyright 2022 WALB. All rights reserved.

Latest News

Latest News