Acquitted of Georgia instructor Tara Grinstead’s homicide, Ryan Duke sentenced to 10 years for hiding her physique

A Georgia man was sentenced to 10 years in jail Monday for hiding the physique of a in style highschool instructor whose disappearance baffled household, pals and investigators in her rural hometown for greater than a decade.

Ryan Alexander Duke was sentenced in Irwin County Superior Court docket simply three days after a jury acquitted him of homicide within the 2005 dying of Tara Grinstead. Duke testified that he gave investigators a false confession after a buddy killed Grinstead. He was convicted solely of concealing her dying.

The ten-year sentence imposed by Choose Invoice Reinhardt was the utmost punishment allowed. Duke has already served about half that point in jail awaiting trial.

A historical past instructor and former magnificence queen, Grinstead vanished at age 30 from her house in Ocilla. At the same time as years handed, her household held out hope that Grinstead could be discovered alive — till Duke instructed investigators in 2017 that he killed Grinstead burned her physique to ash with the assistance of a buddy.

“Day by day, they could not discover Tara,” Choose Reinhardt instructed Duke at sentencing. “And it’s true that regardless of no matter your egocentric emotions had been for not coming ahead, you needed to the facility to cease that ache for years.”

5 years in the past, Duke instructed brokers with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that he had damaged into Grinstead’s house in October 2005 to steal cash for medication. He stated he fatally struck Grinstead when she startled him.

However Duke recanted his 2017 confession throughout his trial, testifying to the jury that he made it up underneath the affect of medication and in concern of the actual killer  — his buddy with an analogous final identify, Bo Dukes.

Prosecutors insisted Duke’s confession included particulars solely the killer would know — resembling Duke telling investigators he known as Grinstead’s house from a pay telephone after fleeing the home to see if she would reply. When she didn’t, he stated, he returned to seek out her lifeless.

“He confessed as a result of he acquired caught,” Grinstead’s sister, Anita Gattis, instructed the courtroom throughout Duke’s sentencing listening to. “There may be nothing sanctimonious about that.”

Investigators additionally discovered Duke’s DNA on a latex glove present in Grinstead’s yard. Nonetheless, his testimony sewed sufficient doubt with the jury that he was acquitted of all prices aside from concealing her dying.

Duke testified that his buddy, Dukes, woke him up in 2005 contained in the cell house they shared and instructed Duke he killed Grinstead. He testified that Dukes confirmed him Grinstead’s purse and pockets.

He stated they each took Grinstead’s physique to the pecan orchard and burned it. Investigators later discovered bone fragments on the website, however stated DNA exams searching for to match them to Grinstead had been inconclusive.

Dukes was known as to the witness stand however declined to reply questions, invoking his Fifth Modification proper towards self-incrimination.

Dukes is already serving 25 years in jail after being convicted in 2019 of concealing Grinstead’s dying, giving false statements to investigators and hindering the apprehension of a prison.

Final 12 months, “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant, who lined the case for over a decade, visited the small city of Ocilla, Georgia, which has been consumed with suspicion and theories in regards to the disappearance of Grinstead.

Many individuals, together with Maria Woods Harber, have questions on what actually occurred to the instructor.

“I imagine [they] had been each on this collectively. I’ve needed to come to a conclusion that I am simply gonna need to stay the remainder of my life not figuring out,” she stated.

“What occurred on this orchard was mindless…” stated Woods Harber. “Two males who had no regard for a wonderful, loving individual took her life.”

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