Arrow-right Camera
News >  Idaho

Duncan waives preliminary hearing

Duncan in July at Kootenai County Jail.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Duncan in July at Kootenai County Jail. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Joseph Edward Duncan III, who is accused of kidnapping and murdering members of a Coeur d’Alene-area family in May, waived his preliminary hearing Friday.

Duncan will face an arraignment next, at which he’ll enter a plea. An arraignment date will be set next week.

Duncan’s preliminary hearing, at which some of the evidence against him would have been presented, had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Public defender John Adams wouldn’t say why Duncan waived his preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, a magistrate judge determines if there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the defendant committed it.

Duncan is accused of murder and kidnapping in the bludgeoning deaths of Brenda Groene, her son Slade Groene, 13, and her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, in May. Duncan is expected to face additional federal charges in the abduction of Shasta Groene, 8, and Dylan Groene, 9. Police rescued Shasta Groene when they arrested Duncan in Coeur d’Alene on July 2; Dylan’s body was found in a rugged part of western Montana on July 4.

Duncan’s arrest rekindled investigations into missing children nationwide. This week, Duncan was identified as a suspect in the 1997 abduction and murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez in California. The boy’s body was found in a remote canyon near Riverside. Investigators and FBI agents said a partial fingerprint found on duct tape used to bind the boy was identified as Duncan’s.

Police in Seattle are looking for links Duncan may have had to the 1996 disappearance of two girls. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that authorities in several states are studying credit card records and other evidence of Duncan’s whereabouts that may connect him to unsolved crimes.