Topics

Joseph Duncan

Summary

Joseph Edward Duncan III is the murderer and kidnapper who attacked a Wolf Lodge Bay family in May 2005.

Kootenai County deputies discovered three dead on May 16, 2005. Brenda Groene, 40; her fiance Mark McKenzie, 37; and her son, Slade Groene, 13, were bludgeoned to death. An Amber Alert was issued the next day for Brenda Groene’s two youngest children, 9-year-old Dylan Groene and 8-year-old Shasta Groene.

The murders and children’s disappearance launched the biggest investigative effort in Kootenai County’s history, at one point involving more than 100 FBI personnel and more than 80 investigators from several other agencies.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on July 2, Shasta was recognized by workers and patrons at the Denny’s in Coeur d’Alene, and her kidnapper, Duncan, was arrested without incident.

Duncan, 42 at the time, was a federal fugitive and a Tacoma native who had spent much of his adult life in Washington state prisons for sex crimes against children. He was on the run from a child molestation charge in Minnesota when he drove past the Groene home on Interstate 90 east of Coeur d’Alene and spotted Shasta and Dylan playing outside.

Over the July 4 weekend, investigators found Dylan Groene’s remains at a campsite near St. Regis, Mont.

On Oct. 16, 2005, Duncan pleaded guilty to three counts of kidnapping and three counts of murder in the deaths of Brenda Groene, Mark McKenzie and Slade Groene. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for the kidnappings. The sentences for the murders were undecided, pending federal prosecution.

More than two years later, after numerous legal delays and psychiatric evaluations, Duncan acted as his own lawyer as he pleaded guilty to 10 federal counts, including the kidnapping of the two children and Dylan’s murder, on Dec. 3, 2007.

On Aug. 27, 2008, a federal jury sentenced Duncan to death. The decision ended the state’s earlier case, with a judge imposing three more life sentences for those murders. Later, Duncan was given three more life sentences, for a total of nine, for his federal crimes.

Duncan pleaded guilty in the death of Anthony Martinez, a 10-year-old California boy, adding his 10th life sentence on March 15, 2011. Duncan has also been linked to the 1996 slayings of two young half-sisters in Seattle.

Key people

  • Joseph Duncan

    Joseph Edward Duncan III is the murderer and kidnapper who attacked an Idaho family in May 2005. Duncan was 42 at the time, was a federal fugitive and a Tacoma native who had spent much of his adult life in Washington state prisons for sex crimes against children. On Dec. 3, 2007, after numerous legal delays and psychiatric evaluations, Duncan acted as his own lawyer as he pleaded guilty to 10 federal counts, including the kidnapping of the two children and Dylan Grone’s murder.

  • Brenda Groene

    Brenda Groene, 40, was found at her home by Kootenai County deputies on May 16, 2005, bludgeoned to death, along with her fiance Mark McKenzie; and her son, 13-year-old Slade Groene. Her 9-year-old son Dylan Groene and 8-year-old daughter Shasta Groene were kidnapped by Joseph Duncan.

  • Mark McKenzie

    Mark McKenzie, 37, was found by Kootenai County deputies May 16, 2005, bludgeoned to death, along with his fiancee, Brenda Groene, 40; and her son, Slade Groene, 13, were bludgeoned to death.

  • Steve Groene

    Steve Groene is the father of Shasta Groene. His sons, Dylan and Slade Groene and his ex-wife, Brenda Groene, were killed in 2005 by Joseph Dundan. Shasta was kidnapped and was found two months later.

Key places

  • Wolf Lodge Bay

Latest updates in this topic


  • ‘Pardon the expression, but he’s crazy,’ doctor says of Duncan

    When a psychiatrist visited Joseph Edward Duncan III at the jail in Indio, Calif., on Sunday, he asked if Duncan thought he was mentally competent to stand trial.


  • Jury hears expert’s analysis of Duncan

    INDIO - Joseph Duncan, charged with the 1997 murder of a Beaumont, Calif., boy, is too delusional and psychotic to make his own decisions and understand his death penalty trial, …


  • California jury considers Duncan’s mental competency

    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.


  • In brief: Man dies in rollover crash

    A 54-year-old Spokane County man died early Saturday in a one-car accident on the Palouse Highway near Sands Road, south of Spokane. The driver, whose identity was not been released, …


  • Judge: Duncan should stand trial in Calif. boy’s death

    INDIO, Calif. — A judge has ruled that a man charged with the 1997 kidnapping, murder and torture of a 10-year-old Beaumont boy should stand trial.


  • Joseph Duncan extradited

    Joseph Duncan, the killer and child molester who attacked a Coeur d’Alene family, has been extradited to California, where he faces another possible death sentence for the 1997 kidnapping and …


  • Duncan extradited to California

    Joseph Duncan, the notorious serial killer and child molester whose attack on a Coeur d’Alene family shocked the state, has been extradited to California, where he faces another possible death …


  • Duncan moved to Indiana prison

    Condemned murderer Joseph Duncan has been transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind., that houses the federal death row, but Riverside County, Calif., still is working to bring …


  • Duncan moved to Indiana

    Condemned murderer Joseph Duncan has been transferred to U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind. that houses the federal Death Row, but Riverside County, Calif. still is working to bring the …


  • Site of Wolf Lodge Bay murders demolished

    The house that stood as a reminder of a terrible tragedy is gone. The Idaho Transportation Department on Saturday destroyed the Wolf Lodge Bay home of Mark McKenzie and Brenda …


  • Wolf Lodge Bay murder site razed

    The house that stood as a reminder of a terrible tragedy is gone. The Idaho Transportation Department on Saturday destroyed the Wolf Lodge Bay home of Mark McKenzie and Brenda …


  • In brief: Arrest returns Hall to jail after escape

    One of Spokane’s most notorious criminals is back in jail. Detectives arrested Eddie Ray Hall about 6 p.m. Tuesday at a convenience store near U.S. Highway 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road, …


  • Judge tosses Duncan appeal

    BOISE – Defense attorneys charged that the FBI plied Joseph Duncan with milkshakes and gifts to manipulate him into not appealing his death sentence, but a federal judge rejected that …


  • Man gets 45 years for drug killing

    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 …


  • Ferris High School coach cleared

    The Ferris High School boys basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl was cleared Thursday after the girl said she made the story up, her lawyers said. Don …


  • Groene home slated for demolition

    Shoulder-high weeds obscure the front entry, but the house where a North Idaho murder spree began still stands, easily visible to travelers passing on Interstate 90 just east of Coeur …


  • Feds want Duncan’s appeal tossed

    BOISE – Federal prosecutors are trying to toss out the appeal filed by standby attorneys for Joseph Duncan, saying he never wanted to appeal his death sentence and the attorneys …


  • Duncan appeals death sentence

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan is appealing his death sentence to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Duncan stood silent when the sentence was handed down in August, after he …


  • Duncan sentenced on remaining charges

    BOISE – In addition to three death sentences, killer and child molester Joseph Duncan is now under nine life prison sentences. “There’ve been no redeeming qualities demonstrated throughout the course …


  • Groene opposes California trial

    BOISE – Steve Groene, father of two North Idaho children murdered by Joseph Duncan, said Monday that he’s against trying Duncan for an additional child murder in California. “I’m going …


  • Duncan to be sentenced Monday

    BOISE – Already sentenced to death, Joseph Duncan should get three more life sentences for his crimes against two North Idaho children in 2005, federal prosecutors say. Duncan is up …


  • Duncan juror faces daily trials

    BOISE – The foreman of the jury that sentenced killer and child molester Joseph Duncan to death in August has “no regrets” about the unanimous verdict, which jurors reached in …


  • Duncan case: What’s next

    Convicted killer Joseph Duncan remains in federal custody in Boise, awaiting final sentencing on the seven non-capital counts in his 10-count federal indictment. He’s pleaded guilty to all charges, and …


  • Idaho counties consider fund for costly court cases

    IDAHO FALLS – Paying for costly criminal prosecutions is on the agenda this week as members of the Idaho Association of Counties gather for their annual meeting in Idaho Falls. …


  • Duncan jurors offered counseling

    BOISE – Jurors who imposed the death penalty on Joseph Duncan are being offered help coping with the horrific things they saw and heard during the killer’s sentencing trial. The …


  • Court appeals could take several years

    Joseph Duncan likely will be transferred soon from Boise to the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. – the prison where condemned federal inmates are executed. The 45-year-old sex predator …


  • Sentence offers relief from grief

    Before 2005, Wolf Lodge Bay was a place to eat a steak, watch ospreys hunt fish in Lake Coeur d’Alene or find an easy campsite. Now it’s also the site …


  • Amid evil, jury shines moral light

    As I write this Wednesday the newsroom is abuzz with the latest on a two-legged monster. A federal jury in Boise just ruled that Joseph Duncan must die for his …


  • Death for a killer

    BOISE – If ever a case justified the death penalty, Joseph Duncan’s kidnapping, torture and murder of a 9-year-old Coeur d’Alene boy is the one, federal prosecutors argued Wednesday. A …


  • Dylan’s father, relatives testify

    BOISE – With heartfelt testimony from the father of murdered Dylan Groene, prosecutors wrapped up their case Tuesday in the federal death penalty sentencing trial for admitted killer Joseph Duncan. …


  • Killings of three other children recounted

    BOISE – A mother sobbed on the witness stand, telling of her two murdered daughters. Glum federal jurors listened to her testimony, but several looked away from her and across …


  • Duncan may face other trials

    BOISE – As a federal jury decides whether Joseph Duncan lives or dies for his murder and torture of a 9-year-old boy, the killer’s legal saga may have only just …

 

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