Bo Dukes sentenced for Wilcox Co. charges in Tara Grinstead case

Bo Dukes, who was found guilty of charges he was facing in Wilcox County in the Tara Grinstead...
Bo Dukes, who was found guilty of charges he was facing in Wilcox County in the Tara Grinstead case, spoke before his sentencing Friday. (Source: WALB)
Updated: Mar. 22, 2019 at 4:36 PM EDT
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ABBEVILE, GA (WALB) - Bo Dukes was sentenced Friday morning for charges he was facing in Wilcox County in the Tara Grinstead case.

Dukes was sentenced to 25 years for four charges he was convicted of Thursday.

Dukes was charged with two counts of making false statements, hindering the apprehension or punishment of a criminal and concealing a death.

Dukes was in the courtroom Friday morning in orange jail clothes.

Connie Grinstead, Tara Grinstead’s step-mom, spoke on behalf of the Grinstead family, and asked for the maximum sentence, which was 25 years.


Here is WALB's coverage of the Bo Dukes sentencing hearing from Abbeville, after his conviction on Thursday.

Posted by WALB News 10 on Friday, March 22, 2019

Connie Grinstead related to the judge on how Dukes’ silence in her death affected her and her family.

“October 2005 was the beginning of one of the most painful journeys that I think any family could ever be faced with,” Connie Grinstead said.

Dixie Hudson, Dukes’ mother, said it’s obvious her son has issues and has asked the court to give him rehabilitation. Hudson’s statement to the judge was short and to the point.

The defense reminded the judge of Dukes’ military service and that he is a decorated soldier. The defense also said that although it is multiple crimes, it is for the same act. The defense said that a sentence of 12 years would be fair for Dukes’ actions.

The defense said that Dukes hadn’t come forward in 2017, it’s possible that they never would have known what happened to Grinstead.

Dukes spoke to the court through tears, taking responsibility, and apologized for what he did. Dukes was emotional in reading his statement and apology to law enforcement, his mother and his girlfriend.

”To the Tara Grinstead family, I’m truly sorry,” Dukes said. “Your long suffering has been unimaginable.”

Dukes said that he has failed his family and his community.

“I failed Tara Grinstead, I failed her family, I failed the local community,” Dukes said. “And I hope these proceedings have given some closure to the many people hurt by my actions.”
Bo Dukes was sentenced to 25 years for his charges in Wilcox County for his role in the Tara Grinstead case. He is also facing charges in Ben Hill County.

District Attorney Brad Rigby told the court that Dukes buried this secret for years and Grinstead’s family waited, and waited and waited, wondering what happened to Tara.

Rigby asked for a 25-year sentence.

Judge Robert W. Chasteen said nothing he does is going to relieve the pain that has been inflicted by what happened to Grinstead and that he couldn’t wrap his head around what was done.

[ Day 1: Opening statements heard in Bo Dukes trial for Grinstead case ]

[ Day 2: More testimony wraps up Tuesday in Bo Dukes trial ]

[ Day 3: Bo Dukes admits in interview shown in trial to helping dispose of Tara Grinstead’s body ]

[ Day 4: Arguments conclude in Bo Dukes trial in Grinstead case ]

Emotionally, Chasteen sentenced Dukes to the maximum for each count, totaling 25 years, in consecutive sentences, to serve in the Georgia prison system, and told Dukes that he can appeal.

“We know he wasn’t charged with Tara’s murder, but for over 11 years, he watched all of us who loved her suffer unimaginable pain and heartache as we frantically searched for her and prayed that by some miracle, we might find her alive,” Connie Grinstead said.

Chasteen then dismissed the court, which was mostly silent.

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