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.
By content type
Latest updates in this topic
Joseph Duncan given two more life sentences
Joseph Duncan guilty plea brings 10th life sentence
Duncan lawyers offer to settle California case
Feb. 23, 2011 in City on Page A6 Defense attorneys for the man accused of killing a 10-year-old Beaumont, Calif., boy in 1997 have offered to settle the case with prosecutors. During a hearing Tuesday morning in an …
Duncan may offer plea deal in California case
Duncan requests attorney ahead of California trial
Oct. 5, 2010 in City on Page A6 Convicted killer Joseph Edward Duncan, already condemned to die for a murderous North Idaho rampage in 2005 and about to stand trial in California for an earlier slaying, has reconsidered …
Duncan murder trial put off again
Sept. 4, 2010 in City on Page B1 RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A trial still appears to be at least a year away for a convicted killer charged with the 1997 slaying of a 10-year-old Beaumont, Calif., boy. During … 3
Duncan could face California trial next fall
Appeal delays mount for Duncan sentence
Sept. 27, 2009 in Idaho on Page B1 Thirteen months after Joseph Duncan was handed three death sentences for his abduction and murder of a North Idaho child, his appeal languishes in its earliest stages at the 9th … 1
California judge says Duncan can act as own attorney
Jury OKs Duncan trial
Aug. 29, 2009 in City on Page B1 INDIO, CALIF. – An Indio jury has found Joseph Edward Duncan III competent to stand trial in the 1997 kidnapping and killing of a 10-year-old boy. The jury deliberated for …
Calif. jury: Duncan competent to stand trial
Doctor: Duncan mentally fit for trial
Aug. 17, 2009 in Idaho, Nation/World INDIO – In the years leading up to the arrest of Joseph Duncan, he battled with the dichotomy of good and evil and lashed out violently after suffering through life, …
‘Pardon the expression, but he’s crazy,’ doctor says of Duncan
Aug. 12, 2009 in Idaho, Nation/World on Page A6 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
Aug. 11, 2009 in Idaho, Nation/World on Page A5 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
In brief: Man dies in rollover crash
April 12, 2009 in City on Page B1 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
Joseph Duncan extradited
Jan. 24, 2009 in City on Page B1 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
Jan. 23, 2009 in Idaho 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
Jan. 10, 2009 in City on Page B1 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 …