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Seeing evil

One Boise attorney who sat in on the arraignment of convicted killer Joseph Duncan this morning in a Boise courtroom said he came because he wanted to “see evil.” Joseph Edward Duncan is accused of the most heinous and horrifying of crimes, the kidnapping and murders of a Coeur d’Alene family, and the kidnapping, torture and molesting of two of their young children for seven weeks before killing one. Only young Shasta Groene survived the harrowing ordeal.

Today, Duncan was arraigned in federal district court in Boise on a 10-count federal indictment. He’s already been convicted of kidnapping and murder on state charges for the slayings of three family members. The federal charges involve the two young children, whom he took across state lines into Montana; the maximum penalties include both death and life in prison several times over.

Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and canvas sneakers, Duncan appeared very pale, and his curly hair was wispy and appeared to be thinning or graying on top. Wide-eyed, Duncan squirmed, fidgeted, and looked alternately at the judge, the papers in front of him, and the courtroom ceiling as the charges against him were read.

When the judge asked if he was entering a not-guilty plea – a standard procedure at that point in an arraignment – the convicted killer balked. “Oh, that’s not right, that’s not right,” Duncan blurted out, as his defense attorney, Thomas Monaghan, sought to quiet him. The two conferred, and Monaghan told federal Magistrate Judge Mikel Williams that the defendant would remain silent, and “we’d ask the court to enter pleas of not guilty at this time.”

Williams set Duncan’s trial to start at 9:30 a.m. on March 20th, before U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge in Boise.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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