Jury sent home in Grinstead killing trial as both sides hammer out details over taped confession

OCILLA, Ga. — Testimony ended early Wednesday in the Ryan Duke murder trial.

Testimony hit an abrupt roadblock when lawyers couldn’t agree on what portions of Duke’s confession to play.

The judge sent jurors home as they hashed the issues out.

Up until then, the day’s focus was on the year’s long stalled investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“It’s not an excuse. It’s my fault we didn’t manage the information, but it happened,” Rothwell said. “We had a lot of information coming in and we didn’t know how to handle it to start with.”

Retired GBI agent Gary Rothwell admitted his agents could have handled the crush of media attention and information better.

In the middle of that information, the names of Ryan Duke and Bo Dukes were given to authorities years before their arrests in the murder of Tara Grinstead.

Duke is now on trial for the murder but points the finger at Dukes. He said a confession he gave to authorities in 2017 was a drug induced lie.

“Was there any evidence that this was a true crime back in 2005?” prosecutors asked Duke.

“There were some indications,” Duke said.


Grinstead vanished in 2005 after a weekend of helping teens at a beauty pageant.

Duke’s defense lawyers tried to paint the GBI investigation as sloppy and too focused on a latex glove found in Grinstead’s yard.

Experts would later find both Grinstead’s and Duke’s DNA on it.

“You understand that sometimes criminals throw the police off the scent so to speak?” defense attorneys asked Rothwell.

“Yes,” Rothwell answered.

“So planting a glove would do that,” defense attorneys said. “Is it fair to say because of the glove … you may have overlooked some important details as part of the investigation?”

“I don’t agree with that,” Rothwell said.

With the issues with the videotaped confession hammered out, jurors should get a chance to see that recording on Thursday.

That and the question of the DNA are the two key points in this trial.