The trial for Bo Dukes, one of the men accused in the 2005 murder of Georgia high school teacher Tara Grinstead, is underway in Wilcox County, with a key witness testifying that Dukes admitted to burning Grinstead’s body the year after she disappeared — and a decade before any arrests were made in the missing persons case.
As reported by WALB, Dukes is accused of covering up Grinstead’s death and faces multiple charges, including making false statements and concealing a death. In February 2017, Ryan Alexander Duke was arrested for Grinstead’s murder, after he reportedly confessed to Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents that he had killed Grinstead, 30, at her home in October 2005 in a drug-and-alcohol-fueled botched robbery. Dukes, who is no relation, is believed to have helped conceal the crime at Duke’s request. Both suspects are former students at the high school where Grinstead taught until she vanished.
According to the report, John McCullough told the jury that Dukes told him in 2006 that Duke had accidentally killed Grinstead and asked Dukes for his truck to move the body. The defendant reportedly said that he brought Grinstead’s body to his family’s pecan farm where he apparently burned the remains.
“He seemed like something was bothering him,” McCullough reportedly told the jury about the conversation, which WSB-TV reports took place during a Christmas visit in 2006.
“It started to come out. He said, ‘You’re my battle buddy, right?’ He was like, ‘Man, I need to tell you something.'”
McCullough reportedly said that Dukes told him “it takes 1200 degrees to burn human bones.”
The witness also said that he attempted to contact local law enforcement about Dukes’ revelation, but that his messages were not returned. He then reportedly contacted the GBI.
Dukes murder trial is expected to continue this week, and Duke is set to face a jury in his murder trial beginning on April 1.
[Feature image: Bo Dukes/Tara Grinstead/GBI]