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Bo Dukes to stand trial again for concealing death of Ocilla teacher, beauty queen Tara Grinstead

This upcoming trial will focus on the crimes he allegedly committed in October 2005 in Ben Hill County

BEN HILL COUNTY, Ga. — Bo Dukes is set to stand trial again for concealing the death of Ocilla beauty queen and teacher Tara Grinstead.

District Attorney Brad Rigby says Dukes' trial could start as early as June 22, but it's likely to begin June 27. This time, the trial will be in Ben Hill County. 

Bo Dukes is already serving time after he was sentenced in Wilcox County in March 2019. This upcoming trial will focus solely on the crimes he allegedly committed in Ben Hill County in October 2005.

The indictment alleges Bo Dukes helped conceal Tara Grinstead's death and that he hindered the arrest of his former classmate and friend Ryan Duke, who was a suspect in Grinstead's murder.

Prosecutors argue he tampered with evidence by helping Ryan burn Grinstead's body.

Ryan and Bo have both stated that they burned Tara Grinstead's body to just a few bone fragments in this pecan orchard in Ben Hill. Bo's uncle owns the orchard, now known as the Hudson Pecan Farm.

In an interview with GBI agents in 2017, Bo confessed to helping Ryan.

"We moved her body to a wooded area with a bunch of wood and burned it over a span of like two days," Bo Dukes told investigators. 

Now, you might be asking, wasn't Bo Dukes already convicted? You're right. He has been.

This will be Bo Dukes' second trial in the death of Tara Grinstead. He faces similar charges all related to Grinstead's death.

Mercer Law professor David Oedel says there could be a dilemma of double jeopardy, which is when someone getting charged twice for the same crime.

"Now, it's a question of the Venn diagrams. How much do they intersect? How much do they not intersect? The Venn diagrams in this case... it's a question of how much you view the different indictments, the different charges as overlapping," Oedel said. 

The March 2019 trial focused mainly on Dukes' June 2016 interview with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. That interview happened in Wilcox County, which is why prosecutors say he faced charges there. 

Bo Dukes was ultimately found guilty of lying to the GBI, hindering the arrest of Ryan Duke, and further concealing the death of Tara Grinstead. A judge sentenced him then to the maximum penalty of 25 years, which he's serving now.

The maximum penalty Dukes could face for this upcoming trial in Ben Hill County is also 25 years, according to DA Brad Rigby. 

So theoretically, if Bo is found guilty, he could be sentenced up to 50 years in all for his role in Grinstead's death--more than the 10 years accused killer Ryan Dukes was sentenced.

It's important to note the sentencing is all up to the judge. The sentences from Wilcox County and Ben Hill County could be running at the same time if he's convicted. 

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