IRWIN COUNTY, Ga. — A judge has sentenced Ryan Duke after a jury found him guilty for concealing the death of Tara Grinstead, but not guilty of her murder.
Ryan Duke was sentenced to the maximum 10 years on Monday. Duke is immediately eligible for parole.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas has covered the case from the very beginning and was in the courtroom Monday for sentencing and on Friday as the verdict was read.
Against high odds, Duke, who had confessed to killing the popular teacher in the small Irwin County town, was found not guilty of murder on Friday.
Grinstead’s family told Thomas they are devastated; prosecutors were defiant as the Duke family and their Atlanta-area based legal team become emotional.
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Duke lowered his head and appeared to cry as five not guilty verdicts washed over him.
The only conviction handed down to him was for concealing the death of Grinstead.
“I had my hand on his shoulder as it was read, and I could feel the tension flow out of him,” Duke’s attorney Evan Gibbs said.
Duke faced potential life in prison for the teacher and beauty queen’s 2005 disappearance.
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