Day 1: Opening statements heard in Bo Dukes trial for Grinstead case

Bo Dukes in court, during Voire Dire
Bo Dukes in court, during Voire Dire(WALB)
Updated: Mar. 18, 2019 at 6:19 PM EDT
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ABBEVILLE, GA (WALB) - Following jury selection, opening statements were heard late Monday afternoon for one of the men who is going to trial in the death of Tara Grinstead.

The prosecution said in their opening statement that “this case is about Bo’s lies.”

The defense said this case is about Dukes’ statements in an interview in 2016 and not about helping dispose of Grinstead’s body, claiming that charge is in another county.

“That evidence is not going to show you that he concealed information,” the defense said in their opening statement.

The first witness, Kim Sheridan, was called to the stand following opening statements. She testified about her daughter’s relationship with Dukes.

The trial will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.

The jury in the trial will consist of 12 member and three alternates.

Seven are women and five are men and there will be two male alternates and one female alternate.

Jury selection in the trial began Monday morning.

By about 10:30 a.m., lawyers had questioned 12 potential jurors as part of Voire Dire. The judge halted the proceedings for lunch about 1 p.m., by which time, three groups of 12 potential jurors had been interviewed. They started up again after the lunch break, and by 2:30 p.m., a fourth group of 12 had been questioned.

The jury pool consisted of 85 people.

Dukes is facing four charges in Wilcox County, including making false statements in the death and disappearance of his former teacher that his friend and former classmate is accused of killing. The trial comes two weeks before Ryan Duke is set to go on trial.

The former beauty queen and teacher in Ocilla disappeared 13 years ago. Dukes, who is accused of being an accomplice to Duke, is set to give his testimony one day this week.

The Wilcox County charges against Dukes include concealing a death, making false statements and hindering the apprehension or punishment of a criminal in the Grinstead case.

According to the August 2017 indictment, the charges stem from June 2016. The indictment accuses Dukes of withholding information about Grinstead’s disappearance in a discussion with a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent.

Investigators believe that after Duke killed Grinstead, he and Dukes burned her body for several days at a pecan farm. Despite his prior confession, Duke now claims he did not kill Grinstead and says it was instead Dukes.

Dukes is also facing charges in Ben Hill county in the Grinstead case. He is also facing charges in Warner Robbins for a rape and kidnapping that happened on Jan. 1.

Ryan Duke’s trial is set to begin in two weeks.

WALB will be covering the trial and providing live updates on Twitter.

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