Day 4: Arguments conclude in Bo Dukes trial in Grinstead case

Day 4: Arguments conclude in Bo Dukes trial in Grinstead case
Bo Dukes in court, during Voire Dire (Source: WALB)

ABBEVILLE, GA (WALB) - Day four of Bo Dukes’ trial picked back up in Wilcox County Thursday morning. Both sides wrapped up their final arguments after about six hours of testimony in the courtroom.

On Thursday morning, the prosecution called Brooke Sheridan, Bo Dukes’ girlfriend, to the witness stand.

WATCH LIVE COVERAGE OF DAY 4:

WATCH LIVE: We're back in Wilcox County for day 4 of the Bo Dukes trial in the Tara Grinstead case. Read a recap of day 3: https://bit.ly/2CvmCCC

Posted by WALB News 10 on Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sheridan said that after Dukes was interviewed by the GBI in 2016, he began having panic and anxiety attacks. Sheridan said Dukes had a severe panic attack and he told her that his roommate, Ryan Duke, had gone into Tara Grinstead’s home and killed he and Bo helped Ryan burn her body.

Sheridan said that Bo Dukes told her that Ryan Duke had woken him up Sunday around lunchtime and told him that he killed Grinstead.

Sheridan said Bo Dukes went back to sleep because he didn’t believe Ryan Duke and they didn’t talk about it again until the following Wednesday.

Sheridan said Bo Dukes helped Ryan Duke dispose of Grinstead’s body that Wednesday at the pecan orchard.

GBI Agent Logan Holland has been called to the stand to talk about the interview he had with Dukes on February 2, 2017. Holland said his interview with Dukes it was, “to his understanding,” Dukes’ idea.

Holland said Dukes took him and other agents to the pecan orchard. The interview happened during a car ride with Holland driving and Dukes as a passenger.

In the interview, Dukes told Holland the area [pecan orchard] has changed a lot since then (Grinstead’s body was burned).

In the interview, Dukes told Holland that he and Ryan Duke are the only ones who know where Grinstead's body was burned.

In the interview, Bo Dukes said he was Ryan Duke’s closest friend back then. Dukes told Holland in the interview that he doesn’t know if Ryan Duke put Grinstead’s body in the back of the truck or in the bed of the truck when he picked her up.

Dukes told Holland in the interview that Ryan Duke told him that he didn’t rape Grinstead, but Dukes said he isn’t sure he believes that. Dukes told Holland they had a party out there in the pecan orchard before Grinstead’s body was burned.

In the interview, Bo Dukes told Holland that Ryan Duke was nervous law enforcement would find out what he had done and that Ryan Duke never bragged about what happened.

In the interview, Bo Dukes said he believes he asked Ryan Duke if he wore gloves and he said Ryan told him he didn’t. During the interview, Bo Dukes told Holland he thinks Ryan Duke was doing cocaine back then in 2005. Bo Dukes told Holland in his interview that he had spoken to Ryan Duke the night before and Ryan had told him he wasn’t going to say anything about what happened.

Dukes said that he didn’t remember if Ryan Duke said if Grinstead was already naked or he undressed her the day she died. Dukes told Holland in the interview that on that Wednesday they burned her, and he first saw Grinstead’s body was lying in the pecan orchard and she was covered in ants.

Dukes said he carried her by her arms.

There was more audio tape evidence presented, in the form of detectives’ interviews with Dukes, and his brother Jake, who said that Bo told him in 2017, on the phone, that he had participated in the hiding of Grinstead’s body.

The state rested its case about 11:55 a. m.

The judge asked Dukes if he wished to testify on his own behalf, and he replied “no.” The judge told defense attorney John Fox that he could put on his case after lunch.

The trial resume about 1:30 p.m., and in his closing argument to the jury, defense attorney John Fox explained to the jury that Dukes didn’t lie in the GBI interview in 2016. He didn’t recall the conversation with John McCullough and that the interview focused on telling John about what happened, and not the action of burning Grinstead’s body.

The defense said Dukes’ responses to his first interview with the GBI in 2016 when he said he didn’t help burn a body, despite what McCullough had told the GBI.

Fox reminded the jury that McCullough said Dukes was slurring his words when he told him about burning Grinstead’s body, and said Dukes’ responses to his first interview with the GBI in 2016, when he said he didn’t help burn a body, despite what McCullough had told the GBI.

The defense explained to the jury that Dukes didn’t lie in the interview in 2016. He didn’t recall the conversation with John McCullough and that the interview focused on telling John about what happened and not the action of burning Grinstead’s body.

The claims the state has not proven that Dukes remembers the conversation with McCullough, and that McCullough is “at best, and unreliable narrator.”

The defense said that the state has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Dukes gave false statement and it is their responsibility as a jury to acquit him on those charges.

The defense is saying the Dukes was never directly asked if he was involved in burning Grinstead's body by the GBI in his 2016 interview.

The defense claimed the state has not proven that Dukes remembers the conversation with McCullough, and said that McCullough is “at best, and unreliable narrator.”

The defense also said Dukes didn’t say anything about participating in helping burn Grinstead’s body in 2016 to protect himself, not Ryan Duke. Fox said the state has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Dukes was trying to protect Ryan Duke, and the jury needs to find him not guilty for hindering the apprehension of Ryan.

The defense argued that GBI Agent Rothwell said the GBI had a statement from a witness by 2008 that they had Bo Dukes and Ryan Duke’s names, and what was overheard, and that there is no concealing a death —if the information was already known.

Fox said that they can’t say they would have known what happened if Dukes had said something in 2016 because they already had the information. The defense then concluded its closing arguments.

Assistant District Attorney Brad Rigby began his closing statements and offered a Powerpoint.

Rigby said Dukes remembers the conversation with McCullough because he remembers John took his truck, and he remembered that because he told McCullough about what happened, and he left with Dukes’ truck because it got in his head.

The prosecution claimed that it doesn’t doubt Dukes didn’t say anything because of self-preservation, but that he had a dual motive.

“Poor Bo. Poor Bo. He has anxiety and panic attacks because he helped destroy somebody’s body,” Rigby said.

Rigby showed the jury photos of Grinstead’s remains. The prosecution also showed the jury the indictment on giving false statement.

The prosecution showed the jury photos of Grinstead's remains, and the indictment on giving false statement, saying Dukes said "no," when asked about recalling the conversation with McCullough, claiming that was denial, not that he forgot.

Rigby explained what beyond a reasonable doubt is to the jury and said that Dukes had the chance to “go right” in 2016, but he didn’t.

The prosecution said Dukes caused more harm in 2016 by lying and covering it up. The prosecution explained to the jury everything Dukes recalled about burning Grinstead’s body.

The prosecution argued that Dukes would have to forget thousands of details to “not recall” why McCullough told the GBI he burned Grinstead’s body.

The state said that Dukes convicted himself in his 2017 interview with the GBI.

The state concluded, and Judge Robert W. Chasteen called for a short recess at 3:21 p.m..

Chasteen reconvened court at 3:35 p.m., and explained to the jurors their responsibility before going into deliberation, and defined legal terms and what the law says in Georgia.

At 3:58 p.m., the judge had charged the jury, and sent them to the jury room.

The jury went back into the courtroom to hear the taped interview of Dukes again before reaching a verdict.

Dukes was found guilty of all four counts he was facing in Wilcox County.

Previous trial coverage:

Dukes is also facing concealing a death charges in Ben Hill County for the Grinstead case and he’s facing sexual assault charges in Houston County for an unrelated incident that happened at the start of the year.

TRACK THE EVENTS OF THE TARA GRINSTEAD CASE BELOW:

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