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


  • Duncan: ‘I was on a rampage’

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan wasn’t just planning to kidnap, rape and murder one child – he planned to commit such crimes over and over until he died, the convicted killer …


  • Jury sees abuse videos

    Editor’s note: This story contains explicit descriptions of severe abuse of a child. BOISE – On the screen, a child screamed in pain, and his tormentor raved.


  • Expert rebuts Duncan’s version of shooting

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan’s story that his initial shooting of 9-year-old Dylan Groene was an accident was undermined in court Wednesday, when an FBI firearms expert testified that extensive testing …


  • Father asks that video be limited

    BOISE – Steve Groene, father of the victim, has filed an emergency motion urging U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge to reconsider his order that a graphic video be shown in …


  • Duncan alternately kind, cruel, Shasta says

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan repeatedly threatened to kill the two children he held captive for weeks at a remote Montana campsite in 2005, the surviving victim told police shortly after …


  • GPS trail shows Duncan’s path

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan was set to commit his crimes in northwestern Montana, with different children as his victims, before he changed his mind, drove to Idaho and targeted the …


  • Impossible not to be shaken by case

    After nearly 30 years in the news business (yes, I really did start writing for my hometown newspaper at the age of 16), I like to think of myself as …


  • ‘I wish I could kill myself,’ Duncan wrote

    In a day filled with tragic photos, shocking videos and the display of the shotgun used to kill 9-year-old Dylan Groene, federal jurors also were given a closer look into …


  • Tapes show Duncan with kids at campsite

    BOISE – Videotapes of Shasta and Dylan Groene clowning around at a Montana campsite with their abductor, Joseph Duncan, were played to the jury in Duncan’s federal death sentence trial …


  • Details revealed in tape of Shasta

    BOISE – One of the big mysteries surrounding Joseph Duncan’s murderous crime spree three years ago was resolved Thursday as the frightened, tearful voice of an 8-year-old girl explained to …


  • Shasta won’t have to testify

    BOISE – Jurors frowned, pursed their lips, some reddened visibly and one gasped out loud as U.S. Attorney Tom Moss detailed the horrific tale of Joseph Duncan’s crimes, intricately planned …


  • Spokane music school among sites Duncan tracked via GPS

    Before Joseph Duncan kidnapped and sexually abused two children near Coeur d’Alene in 2005, he stalked a musical activity school for preschoolers on Spokane’s South Hill, authorities revealed Wednesday. The …


  • Shasta might not take stand

    BOISE – Shasta Groene, the only survivor of Joseph Duncan’s murderous rampage in 2005, may not have to testify against her attacker after all. On the eve of today’s opening …


  • Duncan needs just one juror to avoid death

    BOISE – Here’s how high the stakes are in the jury selection under way in the Joseph Duncan case: If one juror objects in any of three different votes, Duncan …


  • Duncan admits to disturbing nature of videotape

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan, acting as his own attorney, acknowledged Friday that a videotape he made of himself torturing and abusing a 9-year-old North Idaho boy he later murdered is …


  • Judge lets Duncan question would-be jurors

    BOISE – Confessed killer Joseph Duncan insisted on taking over questioning his potential jurors Thursday, sidelining his standby attorneys, but then refused to ask any questions. The move, which U.S. …


  • Lawyers stuck with Duncan

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan’s standby attorneys told a federal judge Wednesday that the confessed killer is so irrational they can’t ethically follow his wishes, and they asked to withdraw from …


  • Shasta’s testimony would close courtroom

    BOISE – A federal judge has ordered the courtroom closed if confessed killer Joseph Duncan’s surviving victim takes the stand in his death penalty sentencing trial, even though the 11-year-old …


  • Duncan lawyers must question jurors

    U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has ruled that Joseph Duncan’s standby attorneys must act on his behalf to question prospective jurors, if he asks them to do so. Duncan’s attorneys, …


  • Duncan’s new role seen as liability

    BOISE – When Joseph Duncan takes over as his own attorney in his upcoming death penalty sentencing hearings, it’ll change the nature of the proceedings, experts say – and make …


  • Duncan asks for access to his computer files

    BOISE – Killer Joseph Duncan wants access to the computer files – including images, video, audio and documents – from the laptop that was confiscated from him when he was …


  • News media seek an open courtroom

    BOISE – Attorneys for The Spokesman-Review and an array of news organizations in Idaho and Eastern Washington filed arguments in federal court Friday in favor of keeping open court proceedings …


  • Duncan cleared to represent himself

    BOISE – Joseph Duncan won his bid Monday to act as his own attorney in his sentencing hearings, sidelining his expert legal team in what U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge …


  • Defense wants open court for video

    BOISE – Attorneys for Joseph Duncan argued Friday that the courtroom should remain open when prosecutors play graphic videotape evidence during his sentencing hearing, but that it should be closed …


  • Duncan mentally fit for sentencing, judge rules

    BOISE – Convicted killer Joseph Duncan is competent enough to face death penalty proceedings for the murder of the North Idaho boy he abducted after slaying most of the 9-year-old’s …


  • Ruling could alter Duncan case

    BOISE – A June U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the right of mentally ill defendants to represent themselves in court could affect the case of Joseph Duncan, who admitted killing …


  • Duncan jury pool on week’s notice

    BOISE – U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge on Monday ordered prospective jurors in the Joseph Duncan case to check in July 30 for further instructions, suggesting the death penalty proceedings …


  • Duncan incompetent, lawyers say

    BOISE – Convicted killer Joseph Duncan’s lawyers have filed a motion to declare him mentally incompetent – which would not only keep him from acting as his own lawyer, but …


  • Judge opens Duncan hearing

    BOISE – U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has reversed himself and ordered today’s status hearing in killer Joseph Duncan’s death penalty proceedings opened to the press and public. Meanwhile, prosecutors …


  • Duncan attorneys object to closed hearing

    BOISE – Attorneys for murderer and child molester Joseph Duncan say there’s been too much secrecy in the killer’s death sentence proceedings, and they are objecting to a closed court …


  • Duncan psych exam could swing case

    BOISE – The latest development in the Joseph Duncan sentencing raises a major question: What happens to the case against the confessed killer if psychological evaluations find he’s mentally incompetent? …


  • In brief: Judge delays Duncan case further

    A decision on whether confessed killer Joseph Duncan should die for what he did to two North Idaho children was pushed back Tuesday when a federal judge ordered a second …

 

Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile