Man gets 45 years for drug killing

SATURDAY, NOV. 22, 2008

A Spokane man convicted last month of first-degree felony murder for the drug-related 2005 killing of 25-year-old Sebastian Esquibel was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza imposed the long sentence, rejecting an appeal by Robert A. Brown’s defense attorney to reduce the term by 10 years.

“Mr. Brown, you’re not a dumb guy. … You should have known to stay away from these people,” Cozza said as he sentenced Brown, 41. Theodore M. Kosewicz, Carlton J. Hritsco and Levoy G. Burnham are already doing time for the murder.

Mary Garcia of Pueblo, Colo., Esquibel’s grandmother, tearfully told Brown “you could have saved my baby” by calling police during a dispute over an $800 meth buy that preceded the killing.

Brown apologized to Garcia.

“The last thing I ever intended was to hurt someone,” he said.

Two people cutting firewood found Esquibel’s body under a slash pile in southern Spokane County on Jan. 16, 2006.


Duncan attorneys dispute jurisdiction

Standby defense attorneys for Joseph Duncan said the U.S. District Court in Boise has no business holding a hearing Monday on whether the killer wants to appeal his death sentence, because jurisdiction over the case now falls under the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

They also said they’ve filed a motion to the Court of Appeals asking that experienced appellate attorneys be appointed for Duncan, in part because his current standby lawyers could be potential witnesses on whether Duncan intended to appeal and on “his mental illness.”

The 45-year-old admitted killing four members of a North Idaho family and kidnapping and sexually assaulting the family’s two youngest children.

Duncan was sentenced to death for the murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene. He has also received nine life terms.

The standby attorneys filed a notice of appeal this week, but Duncan sent the court a letter saying he didn’t want to appeal.

Federal prosecutors moved to dismiss the appeal, saying the decision to appeal is up to Duncan, not his standby attorneys.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge set a hearing for Monday in Boise to sort it all out.

Karen Dorn Steele Betsy Z. Russell

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