Ryan Duke Murder Trial: Despite jury being excused, case moving along rapidly

Jurors were excused Wednesday as State and Defense attorney's worked through redactions in Ryan Duke's confession.

OCILLA, Ga. – The trial for Ryan Duke, the man accused of killing Irwin County School teacher and beauty queen back in the fall of 2005 is moving along swiftly; from the jury selection, to the opening statements, and the state’s witnesses.

Although things have slowed slightly as both the state and defense attorney’s worked through the transcript of Ryan Duke’s confession.

As a result Judge Bill Reinhardt who is presiding over this case had to excuse the jurors Wednesday for the rest of the day as the redactions took up the rest of the afternoon.

“Line thirteen, you believe should come out?” asked Judge Reinhardt. “Yes, judge.” Defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant replied.

The state planned on presenting the confession to the jury after lunch, but both parties began going over redactions as to what will be taken out in reference to Bo Dukes that went well into the lunch hour.

“I want to direct your attention back to October 2005 and maybe sometime before October 2005, I know that’s a long time ago. Do you recall there being bonfires held out on the property out on Fitzgerald Farms?” a state prosecutor asked. “Yes I do.” said Randy Hudson.

The first witness to start off day 3 was the uncle of Bo Dukes, Randy Hudson who owns the Fitzgerald Farms in Ben Hill County; the same farm where Grinstead’s remains were found.

Hudson initially noticed signs of bonfires from the damages left behind.

“Later on Mr. and Mrs. Dickens calling me and asking me to, if I could stop the kids from going out and partying, and building a fire out on their property.” said Hudson.

The Dickens were neighbors to the Hudsons on the farm. Randy recalls having to make his nephew aware about having bonfires on the farm after things began to get out of hand.

“Number one because it was disturbing Mrs. Dickens and Dr. Dickens, and because at a later date and time they were burning some of Dr. Dickens wood that he was cutting for Mrs. Dickens.” said Hudson.

Hudson did confirm that there was a fire on the backside of the property were Grinstead’s remains were found.

“There should have not been a fire, it was a pine forest, it was a fall year, and only a spark and those pine woods would have gone up in flames.” said Hudson.