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.
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Lawyers stuck with Duncan
Aug. 7, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 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
Aug. 6, 2008 in City on Page A1 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
Aug. 5, 2008 in City on Page B1 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
Aug. 3, 2008 in Idaho on Page A1 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
Aug. 2, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 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
Aug. 2, 2008 in Idaho on Page B2 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
July 29, 2008 in Idaho on Page A1 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
July 26, 2008 in Idaho on Page A6 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
July 25, 2008 in Idaho on Page A1 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
July 24, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 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
July 22, 2008 in Idaho on Page B3 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
July 18, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 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
July 17, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 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
July 16, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 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
May 15, 2008 in Idaho on Page A1 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
May 14, 2008 in City on Page B1 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 …
Duncan’s psychiatric evaluation sealed
May 9, 2008 in City on Page B1 The public has no constitutional right to see the results of a mental evaluation of killer Joseph Duncan, a federal judge in Boise ruled Thursday. Duncan’s right to a fair …
Duncan’s exam results should be public, media argue
May 3, 2008 in City on Page B1 The public should be able to know results of the psychological exam that will help decide whether admitted murderer Joseph Duncan is competent to act as his own attorney in …
Duncan evaluation puts jury selection on hold
April 23, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 BOISE – More than two dozen prospective jurors were waiting to be questioned, Joseph Duncan was in court, and attorneys and the judge were assembled. But Tuesday’s jury selection proceedings …
Duncan cites his ‘ideology’
April 19, 2008 in Idaho on Page A1 BOISE – Convicted killer Joseph Duncan said Friday that his “ideology” is behind his request to act as his own attorney in his death penalty sentencing hearings for kidnapping, molesting …