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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Largest jury pool gathers for Duncan proceedings
Duncan juror phase begins
April 13, 2008 in Idaho on Page B1 BOISE – Three hundred fifty people will gather in Boise’s convention center on Monday to start an extraordinary process: deciding whether Joseph Duncan should die for what he did to …
Judge rules against Duncan
Feb. 16, 2008 in City on Page B3 Jurors can consider incriminating statements convicted murderer Joseph Duncan made to FBI agents as they decide whether he should be executed for his crimes, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. …
Duncan lawyers seek sentence delay
Feb. 7, 2008 in Idaho on Page B3 BOISE – Attorneys for convicted murderer Joseph Edward Duncan III are asking a federal judge to postpone his sentencing hearing on 10 federal charges until September, and to prevent the …
Duncan evidence won’t be suppressed
Feb. 5, 2008 in Idaho BOISE – A federal judge has rejected defense attorneys’ motions to suppress evidence seized from the vehicle Joseph Duncan was driving when he was found with young Shasta Groene, the …
Shasta told police of Duncan’s claims
Jan. 24, 2008 in Idaho on Page B2 BOISE – Shasta Groene told authorities that Joseph Duncan, during the weeks he held her captive at a remote Montana campsite, described killing at least three other children – a …
Shooting details revealed at Duncan hearing
Jan. 23, 2008 in Idaho on Page B3 BOISE – The night she was rescued from killer Joseph Duncan, young Shasta Groene gave such a vivid description of Duncan’s killing of her brother, Dylan, that it left little …
Shasta’s advocate fights delay
Dec. 8, 2007 in Idaho on Page B1 BOISE – The court-appointed advocate for Shasta Groene said in court papers Friday that even if the child doesn’t have to testify against Joseph Duncan, it’s in her best interest …
Shasta won’t need to testify
Dec. 7, 2007 in Idaho on Page A1 BOISE – Shasta Groene won’t have to testify in federal court against killer Joseph Duncan under an agreement reached by both sides in the case. “The parties will stipulate that …
Guilty plea without deal is unusual, attorneys say
Dec. 4, 2007 in City on Page A12 Joseph Duncan’s decision to plead guilty to capital crimes without an agreement to avoid a death sentence is unusual but not unprecedented, said attorneys familiar with death penalty cases. “It …
Duncan admits to all 10 counts
Dec. 4, 2007 in Idaho on Page A1 BOISE – A chilling tale of child molestation and murder emerged in a Boise courtroom Monday, as Joseph Duncan pleaded guilty to all counts in a federal indictment for kidnapping …
Duncan may plead guilty
Duncan puts death penalty on trial
Nov. 13, 2007 in Idaho on Page B1 BOISE – As Joseph Duncan awaits a federal trial that could bring a death sentence, the notorious North Idaho murderer’s case is becoming the focus of arguments about whether the …
Duncan lawyers challenge jury rules
Nov. 7, 2007 in Idaho on Page B3 BOISE – Attorneys for convicted murderer Joseph Duncan have filed papers in court seeking to have his federal indictment for kidnapping, killing and child molesting thrown out because they contend …
Duncan’s January trial date unchanged
Oct. 13, 2007 in Idaho on Page B3 BOISE – Joseph Duncan’s attorneys have plenty of time to prepare for a January trial, U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge declared Friday, and he refused to let Duncan’s former lead …
Clarke to head Duncan team
Sept. 29, 2007 in Idaho on Page B1 The attorney who defended Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and child-killer Susan Smith will head Joseph Duncan’s federal defense team. Judy Clarke, formerly federal defender for Eastern Washington and Idaho, is leading …
Computer experts to testify at Duncan trial
Aug. 29, 2007 in Idaho on Page B1 Three computer forensic experts will testify at killer Joseph Duncan’s federal trial about the pictures, videos and journal entries found on his computer equipment, federal prosecutors said in a court …
Duncan misses deadline for wrongful death suit
Aug. 18, 2007 in Idaho on Page A1 BOISE – Convicted murderer and sex offender Joseph Duncan failed to reply in time to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of the children Duncan is accused of …
Judge splits Duncan ruling
July 20, 2007 in Idaho on Page B2 Federal prosecutors can’t have a log of Joseph Duncan’s prison visitors, but U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge is allowing prosecutors to see some of the convicted killer’s mail. Defense attorneys …
Amid storm, Douglas confident
July 15, 2007 in Idaho on Page A1 Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas wants to be remembered as a good boss and a “fair, ethical prosecutor who was a voice for crime victims and who held criminals accountable.” …