Tara Grinstead murder case: Ryan Duke’s defense pushes for doubt around key piece of DNA evidence

OCILLA, Ga — The first week of testimony in the Ryan Duke murder trial wrapped up Friday as the defense team continued to center its case around a key piece of evidence.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas is in south Georgia following the trial for the suspect accused of murdering Tara Grinstead.

On Friday, Duke’s defense team pushed for doubt in the DNA testing of a key piece of evidence found in Grinstead’s backyard the weekend she vanished in 2005: a latex glove dropped in the landscaping.

“Having Bo Dukes on the glove doesn’t really fit their theory of the case,” defense attorney Evan Gibbs said.

“Both profiles were about 50-50,” said Ashley Hinkle with the GBI crime lab.

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Testing found most of the DNA on the glove belonged to Grinstead and the defendant Duke. But there is a mixture of a third DNA the GBI crime lab has never been able to identify.

They’ve ruled out everyone they have tested, except one: Bo Dukes, the same man Ryan Duke fingers as the other guy who could have killed Grinstead.

“The forensic testing of that glove could not exclude Bo Dukes as the third contributor, correct?” Merchant asked.

“Correct,” Hinkle replied.

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Grinstead vanished in 2005 without a trace. The GBI had no solid suspects until 2017 when Ryan Duke confessed to murdering Grinstead.

Ryan Duke said he used Bo Dukes’ truck to move her body and Dukes helped him burn her body.

Prosecutors offered a theory of how Bo Dukes’ DNA could have wound up on a glove they don’t believe he ever touched.

“If Ryan Duke had been driving Bo Dukes’ vehicles to the site of when he murdered Tara Grinstead, could Bo Dukes’ DNA come off his hands when he put the gloves on?” prosecutor JD Hart asked.

“Yes,” Hinkle replied.

Court has ended for the week. The prosecution plans to rest its case on Monday. The defense will try and call Bo Dukes to the stand.

It is likely that Bo Dukes will take the fifth and refuse to answer questions.

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