Local news

In brief: Judge delays Duncan case further


A decision on whether confessed killer Joseph Duncan should die for what he did to two North Idaho children was pushed back Tuesday when a federal judge ordered a second mental evaluation.

Jury selection for the sentencing hearing was suspended last month after Duncan said he wants to act as his own attorney. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge ordered a mental evaluation by a Boise clinical psychologist to confirm Duncan’s competence. But now the judge wants further review. The judge may be contemplating sending Duncan to the federal Bureau of Prisons in Seattle, which does intensive mental evaluations that include a 30- to 45-day monitoring period.

Duncan has admitted murdering three members of the Groene family at their North Idaho home in 2005 in order to kidnap the family’s two youngest children, whom he then held captive and repeatedly molested before killing 9-year-old Dylan, whose then-8-year-old sister, Shasta, survived the ordeal.

Duncan has pleaded guilty to all charges in a 10-count federal indictment, three of which carry the death penalty.

- Betsy Z. Russell


Two kids removed from house in pot bust

Two young children were taken from a Spokane home Tuesday after detectives found 170 marijuana plants and arrested their parents on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Brian J. Edwards, 25, and his wife, Autumn C. Edwards, 23, were booked into Spokane County Jail on Tuesday morning after detectives searched their home at 1018 E. Rowan Ave. and arrested Brian Edwards, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Autumn Edwards was arrested at the Spokane nursing home where she is employed.

Also found in the search were an older SKS-style assault rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol. Edwards told the detectives he keeps the firearms unloaded because of the children in the home, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

- Meghann M. Cuniff

Spokane County

Motorcycle deputy injured in crash

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy suffered minor injuries when his motorcycle struck the back of a car Tuesday afternoon in north Spokane County.

Kevin Nave was northbound on Highway 395 on his sheriff’s Harley-Davidson when a silver Hyundai Elantra pulled out of a business driveway and onto the highway just north of Hastings Road about 4:20 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office. Nave hit the back corner of the car and was thrown over its top.

He called sheriff’s dispatch to report the collision and was transported to a Spokane hospital following reports of neck and back pain. Neither the woman driving the Hyundai nor her passenger was injured in the crash, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The motorcycle was destroyed.

Washington State Patrol is investigating.

- Meghann M. Cuniff

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