February 22, 2011 in News, Region

Duncan may offer plea deal in California case

By John Asbury The (Riverside, Ca.) Press-Enterprise
 
Stan Lim/The Press-Enterprise photo

Joseph Duncan
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INDIO, Ca. - Already sentenced to death for killing an Idaho boy, a man accused in the 1997 slaying of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez of Beaumont, Ca., offered a settlement Tuesday that could draw the case to a close without going to trial.

Attorneys for Joseph Edward Duncan III said they were prepared to sumbit an offer to the Riverside County district attorney, spurred by his decision to review all capital cases in the county. They spoke at a brief hearing Tuesday morning in an Indio courtroom.

The defense attorneys declined to go into detail about the offer. Prosecutors would not comment.

If Duncan pleads guilty, it may end his tumultuous two-year stay in Riverside County and finally bring closure in Anthony’s case, 14 years after his death.

Duncan, 47, has been uncooperative until recently, following extensive delays and questions about his competency and attorneys. The case has long been a balancing act between justice for Anthony’s family and the strain on county resources.

Anthony was abducted outside his Beaumont home in April 1997 by a man who first asked a group of boys for help looking for his lost cat, then forced Anthony into his car at knifepoint. His body was found 15 days later, bound in duct tape, north of Indio near Joshua Tree National Park. He had been molested and beaten to death.

Duncan received three death sentences and nine life terms for the brutal kidnapping and murder of an Idaho family in 2005. After he was arrested in that case, he confessed to killing Anthony, according to investigators in Idaho.

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