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Friday, February 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Joseph Duncan guilty plea brings 10th life sentence

Joseph Duncan ( Stan Lim/The Press-Enterprise)
Joseph Duncan ( Stan Lim/The Press-Enterprise)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A convicted mass-murderer pleaded guilty here today to the 1997 murder and torture of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez in exchange for life in prison without parole.

The California guilty plea brings Joseph Duncan his 10th life sentence, in addition to nine previous life terms and three death sentences, admitting to the death of four members of a family near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

He also waived any appellate rights in Anthony’s murder and any motions filed in the California case. The Idaho case is still pending an appeal before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court.

He also pleaded guilty to six special circumstances, including the kidnapping, molestation and torture of Anthony before his death. He was also charged with special circumstances for the murders of Brenda Groene, her fiancé Mark McKenzie and her oldest son Slade Groene in their home when they were bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

“You are charged with the murder of Anthony Martinez. Do you intend to plead guilty?” Judge David Downing asked.

“Yes I do,” Duncan answered. He quietly said “guilty” when asked for his plea. And answered “admit” to each special circumstance allegation the judge read.

Duncan sat with his attorneys wearing a red jail uniform and a bulletproof vest and answered the judge’s questions in a hushed voice.

Anthony’s family sat in the courtroom as they watched the man who killed Anthony 14 years ago and listened to a prosecutor detail the killings Duncan admitted to. Anthony’s mother, Diana Gonzales, bowed her head and wept.

Duncan will return to the Indio court April 5 to be sentenced in Anthony’s death. Anthony’s family is expected to give a victim impact statement to address Duncan and the court.

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