Juror kicked off jury as Grinstead murder trial heads into closing arguments

OCILLA, Ga. — Just as testimony concluded Wednesday in the Ryan Duke murder trial, one man was kicked off the jury.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas has covered this case from the beginning and was in the courtroom Wednesday when fellow jurors handed a complaint to the bailiffs that the one of their counterparts was caught sleeping during court on more than one occasion.

The man said he worked at night and was struggling at times to stay awake, so he was dismissed and will be replaced by one of the six alternates who’ve been listening to all the testimony.

The judge questioned another juror as well about snoozing on the job. She said her problems were only on Wednesday and she was allowed to stay.

It’s a critical time for the jury. They listened to the state’s final rebuttal witnesses Thursday.

One man told them how he heard Duke and Bo Dukes confess back in 2005 to killing Tara Grinstead.

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“I asked them what happened to Tara and they said they had killed her and burned her,” witness Garlan Lott testified.

Duke is charged with murdering the former beauty queen and teacher, then enlisting the help of friend Dukes to burn her body.

Duke said Dukes is the real killer.

Duke said he only confessed because he was scared of Dukes.

“What was their reaction? They both kind of laughed but it was in an agreeable manner,” Lott said.

Closing arguments are set for first thing Thursday morning. Each side is being given two hours to make their case to the jury.

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