August 10, 2009 in Idaho, Nation/World

California jury considers Duncan’s mental competency

Condemned murderer accused of killing Riverside boy in 1997
Associated Press
 
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INDIO, Calif. — A Riverside County jury is considering whether a convicted killer is mentally fit to stand trial for the murder of a 10-year-old boy in 1997.

District attorney spokesman Michael Jeandron says opening statements began Monday in the mental competency trial of Joseph Duncan. Jeandron says the trial is expected to last four weeks.

A judge decided earlier this year to suspend criminal proceedings against Duncan until his mental competency is determined.

Duncan is accused of kidnapping Anthony Martinez as he played with his brother near their Beaumont home. The boy’s nude and battered body was found about two weeks later in the desert east of Los Angeles.

Duncan was given six life terms in Idaho state court for killing Brenda Groene, her fiance Mark McKenzie and Groene’s 13-year-old son, Slade, in 2005. Duncan was also given three death sentences and three life sentences in federal court for the kidnapping and torture of 9-year-old Dylan and 8-year-old Shasta Groene, and Dylan’s murder at a campground in western Montana.

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