In a day filled with tragic photos, shocking videos and the display of the shotgun used to kill 9-year-old Dylan Groene, federal jurors also were given a closer look into the troubled mind of murderer Joseph Duncan.
A handwritten two-page letter, found folded up in a coat pocket in Duncan’s Jeep, is addressed to his mother and details his struggles with “demons,” his hate for society and his desire to die.
“I wish I could kill myself as I’m sure it would bring less pain into the world if I did,” the letter reads. In a sentencing trial that began Wednesday, 12 jurors will decide whether the 45-year-old registered sex offender will die for his torture and killing of Dylan or spend the rest of his life in prison.
Idaho State Police Detective Sgt. Fred Swanson, who led the search of the Jeep after Duncan was arrested in July 2005, read the letter in court Friday morning. Duncan acknowledged the letter was in his handwriting
The letter echoes statements Duncan wrote on his blog just days before the triple homicide at the Groene home in Wolf Lodge Bay, east of Coeur d’Alene, in which he focuses on society’s treatment of sex offenders and details his battles with his “demons.”
In a blog entry dated May 13, 2005, Duncan writes of a journal he keeps encrypted under a code an FBI computer forensics expert told the court Friday that even the government couldn’t crack. Once the journal code is cracked, “maybe then they will understand that despite my actions, I’m not a bad person I just have a disease contracted from society, and it hurts a lot,” Duncan wrote then.
Duncan wrote that he’s “driven by my hatred for our society (‘the system’)”.
“I have been inflicted by an evil ‘demon’ that is nurtured by our so-called Criminal Justice System,” the letter reads.
He writes of God throughout, saying he’s asked for help with his troubles and mercy for his victims but received few answers.
“I have once again become a medium of violence in the world and once again wish I was not alive,” the letter reads. “I don’t know what to say, because I really do not understand my own maladies enough to explain, but I do understand in a deranged way.”
He writes that he knows there’s good in his heart but describes a “huge reservoir of hatred (evil) that drives me to hurt people, even those I love.”
He wonders if God wants him to teach something to the world, but asks, “Who would ever listen to a convicted child rapist?”
“Evil is real only because we make it real,” the letter continues. “If I could somehow teach people this then we could develop many new and effective ways to fight evil - which is hatred that manifests itself in any intelligent system.”
Duncan compares his battle with the justice system to his mother’s battle with the commercial system that pushes fattening foods. He ends with a plea: “But know that I am still fighting my demons and asking God to guide me as he can.”