Bond hearing set for suspect in slain Georgia teacher case

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February 11, 2019

IRWIN CO., Ga. (WALB) -- One of the men accused of killing former teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead is due in Irwin County Superior Court for a bond hearing on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Ryan Duke’s attorneys said they are asking the judge for a $10,000 bond since he doesn’t have the financial means to make a significant bond. Back in January, attorneys filed a new legal motion for Ryan Duke, asking the court to set a reasonable bond for him.

“So, I think any time somebody’s charged with murder and they seek bond, certainly on a case that’s as high profile as this one, that can be a big deal,” said Philip Holloway with the ‘Up and Vanished’ podcast.

In the motion, Duke’s defense team, Ashleigh and John Merchant, said they believe Duke doesn’t pose a risk of fleeing or failing to appear in court. It also mentions Duke wants to be released so he can earn money to afford to pay for the costs necessary to ensure he gets a fair trial.

Duke’s defense team also argues in the motion that he never requested bond because he was scared his co-defendant, Bo Dukes, who is now incarcerated, would hurt him.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that at least part of their defense strategy is to say the roles were reversed. In other words, Bo was the killer and Ryan was the helper. That’s essentially the theory that seems to be materializing,” explained Holloway.

Duke is charged with malice and felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Tara Grinstead back in 2005.

His trial is set to be held in Irwin County on April 1.

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