Georgia man Ryan Duke acquitted of murder in death of teacher Tara Grinstead, despite 2017 confession

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A jury in Georgia found Ryan Duke not guilty of murder in the 2005 death of school teacher and beauty pageant contestant Tara Grinstead.Duke was acquitted of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and burglary, but was found guilty of concealing a death.
Tara Grinstead is seen posing with one of her pageant crowns in a photo provided by family. 
(Fox 5 )Duke admitted to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) that he killed Grinstead in 2017, but during the trial, he said he did not kill her, pointing the finger at his former best friend Bo Dukes.He was asked during the trial if he killed Grinstead.”I did not,” Duke replied.That contradicted recorded statements he made to the GBI five years ago, when Duke said he broke into Grinstead’s house to steal money for drugs and fatally struck her when she startled him.”I was stealing from her purse and she snuck up on me,” Duke told GBI agents in a video shown to the jury last week. “She snuck up on me and I hit her. It was reactionary. I ran. I didn’t know what else to do.”Duke told agents he tried calling Grinstead’s house from a payphone after he ran, and when she didn’t answer he returned to the scene to find her dead. He told investigators: “I can’t lie. I can’t live with myself I’m so sick of this.”Duke said the night of the killing in October 2005 he was woken up by Bo Dukes in the mobile home where they were living.Duke testified: “He said he killed Tara.” He said Dukes then showed him Grinstead’s purse and wallet.Dukes was sentenced to 25 years in prison after a jury convicted him in 2019 of helping Duke remove Grinstead’s body from the house and burn it in a pecan orchard. Dukes denied killing Grinstead and wasn’t charged with murder.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mojtaba Sadira

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