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Eighth day of Ryan Duke trial underway

Video from WALB
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 8:45 AM EDT
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OCILLA, Ga. (WALB) - The Ryan Duke trial is in its eighth day in an Irwin County court. Duke is on trial for his connection to the death and disappearance of Tara Grinstead.

On Tuesday, Ryan Duke took the stand to testify. Wednesday, the court is expected to hear from more witnesses from both the state and defense.

Closing arguments are expected on Thursday.

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On Wednesday, six rebuttal witnesses took the stand.

Witness testimony is over in the Ryan Duke trial – closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday.

Garlan Lott claimed he was a friend to Ryan Duke in high school and an acquaintance of Bo Dukes. In 2005, he says he went to a party at Bo Dukes family’s pecan orchard. There he heard something he says he could never forget.

“What they thought happened to Tara they said -they killed her and burned her, comment was we killed her and burned her,” said Lott.

Lott says he’s not sure which man made the comment, but says that they both laughed after. The defense pressed Lott on who was most likely to make the comment.

“Bo Dukes had a reputation for saying crazy and outlandish things didn’t he? Yes. He had a dark sense of humor, didn’t he? Yes, he had a darker sense of humor. Based on what you knew about the two of them, Bo was more likely to have made that comment, right? More than likely,” said Duke’s attorney, Evan Gibbs.

After Lott heard those comments, he told someone he was working for at the time. She helped write a statement for him and send it to law enforcement. Later in 2005, the GBI did go and search the pecan orchard where Lott said those comments were made but to his knowledge, nothing ever came from it.

One of the last witnesses was a GBI inspector who was there to analyze the confession Ryan Duke made back in 2017.

Duke claims it was a false confession because he says he was under the influence of drugs at the time.

Mitchel Posey says he’s conducted hundreds of interviews as a GBI inspector.

Wednesday, he went through the transcript of the confession Ryan Duke gave to a GBI agent.

Posey says the evidence has been considered guilty knowledge in the case. That’s something only a hand full of law enforcement and a person close to the crime would know about.

He says that kind of knowledge was either brought up by Ryan Duke first or something he could expand on.

Posey says Duke corrected the GBI agent 21 times during the interview.

“Why is this important to you or is it imprint to you in evaluating that Ryan Duke correct Shouldell 21 times extremely important because it tells me Ryan Duke wants Shouldell to get it right what you have is wrong I want you to get it right,” said Posey.

Posey says he did notice one part of the interview to be what is called “contaminated”.

“Were there things in this interview what caused you concern? One specific one looking for details that were lost the way Shouldell asked Ryan about cleaner and that where purse and keys went in the question, he told him every bit on thing left for Ryan to do was confirm it.”

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