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Confession, DNA at heart of trial in Georgia teacher's death

Tara Grinstead
Posted at 10:20 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 10:20:06-04

OCILLA, Ga. (AP) — Jurors are hearing dueling arguments over the confession of a Georgia man standing trial for murder in the 2005 disappearance and death of high school teacher Tara Grinstead.

The trial of Ryan Duke opened Monday in rural Irwin County with prosecutors saying Duke's confession to investigators, knowledge of the crime and DNA found at the scene all point to his guilt. But defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant told the jury in her opening statement that Duke's confession was coerced and there's no evidence he killed Grinstead.

Grinstead's disappearance in October 2005 remained a mystery for more than a decade. Duke was arrested in 2017 after telling Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents he killed Grinstead in her home and burned her body.