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Prosecutors protest delay of Duncan trial

Prosecutors are asking 1st District Judge Fred Gibler to consider the impact another delay in the trial of Joseph Edward Duncan III might have on Shasta Groene.

Shasta, 9, is expected to testify against Duncan, who has been charged with killing her 13-year-old brother, her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. Duncan allegedly kidnapped Shasta and her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, and held the children for weeks at a remote Montana campground. That’s where authorities later found Dylan’s remains. Federal charges for the kidnappings and Dylan’s death are expected to follow the state’s triple-homicide trial.

In a court filing Tuesday, Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas said the state opposes any further delay in Duncan’s trial. Duncan’s attorneys are asking the April 4 trial be reset for no sooner than November.

In opposition to the delay, Douglas cites portions of Idaho law and the state constitution that say victims are “entitled to a timely disposition of the case.” He also cites Idaho state code that says the court should do what it can to “minimize the length of time the child must endure the stress of his or her involvement in the proceedings.”

– Taryn Brodwater

Hearing set for suspect in 76-year-old’s killing

A preliminary hearing has been set for the man from St. Maries, Idaho, charged with killing a 76-year-old woman and setting fire to her home.

Lawrence “Larry” Banderob could face the death penalty in the death of Miriam Waltch. His hearing is scheduled for March 7 and 8, Benewah County Prosecutor Douglas Payne said.

Authorities believe Waltch was killed because her home was close to where Banderob’s car became stuck in a ditch the evening of Feb. 4. The 37-year-old allegedly bound and beat Waltch, stole her car, returned later to shoot her and torched her home the following day.

Sheriff Robert Kirts has said that it appears the woman was also raped. Payne said authorities are awaiting tests to determine whether rape charges will be filed against Banderob.

– Taryn Brodwater


House votes to change law’s masculine wording

The Idaho House voted unanimously Tuesday to change an Idaho law that authorizes mayors to call on “every male inhabitant in the city over 21 years of age to aid in enforcing the laws.” The bill, HB 559, which now moves to the Senate, changes “male inhabitant” to “resident.”

Rep. Jana Kemp, R-Boise, said a newly elected mayor reviewing statutes on her duties contacted her and asked, “Why is it that I can only call upon male inhabitants to enforce the law?” So Kemp sponsored legislation to change the law, which originated in 1893.

Betsy Z. Russell

Hearing on potential garbage site postponed

Kootenai County has postponed until March a public hearing on a proposal to change the land classification on 65 acres near Post Falls slated to become the county’s second garbage drop-off site.

The county wants to build a $12 million transfer station north of Post Falls on Pleasant View Road at Prairie Avenue. But first it must change the zoning from agricultural to industrial.

The only transfer station is on Ramsey Road. On some weekends, traffic there is backed up into the street.

The Pleasant View Road site has 3,700 feet of rail line access that would give the county the ability to eventually ship garbage by train to an out-of-area landfill and prolong the life of the Fighting Creek landfill.

The 6 p.m. March 23 hearing is at the Kootenai County Administration Building, 451 Government Way. For more information, call (208) 446-1070.

– Erica Curless