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Duncan may be getting blog out

Taryn Brodwater Staff writer

Homicide suspect Joseph Duncan may be blogging from his Coeur d’Alene jail cell with the help of an anonymous correspondent.

The person posting Duncan’s writings on the Internet is doing so in an attempt to keep anyone else from profiting from the jailhouse messages and in hopes that Duncan might offer evidence to incriminate himself, according to East Coast crime blogger Jules Hammer, who said she knows the anonymous blogger.

Entries were posted to the Web log – “Blogging the Fifth Nail: Revelations” – beginning in mid-November. The most recent entry, titled “We Need Tougher Sex Crimes (Uh,…laws),” was posted Monday.

Hammer provided scanned copies of letters that Duncan sent to be posted. The handwriting and Duncan’s signature closely resemble that in letters Duncan sent to The Spokesman-Review last fall.

The correspondence also was written on the same yellow, legal-style paper Duncan used in his letters to the newspaper. The Spokesman-Review previously wrote to Duncan seeking comment on the murder charges against him. He declined to address the charges.

Duncan is set to go on trial April 4 for the May bludgeoning deaths of Brenda Groene, her 13-year-old son, Slade, and her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie. Once the state’s trial wraps up, federal prosecutors are expected to file charges against Duncan for the kidnapping of the two youngest Groene children – Dylan and Shasta – and for Dylan’s death.

Like Duncan’s previous blog, “The Fifth Nail,” the new online journal is full of religious references. The original blog became well-known through media reports in the days following Duncan’s July 2, 2005, arrest in Coeur d’Alene.

His final entry on that blog, just days before the killings, reads: “My intent is to harm society as much as I can, then die.”

In the new blog, the author laments the push for tougher sex crime legislation: “A very good friend of mine who happens to be a ‘serial killer’ told me that he committed more sex crimes during the two years he was on parole (including killing three children) than he did in the entire five years he was not on parole.”

Since his July arrest, authorities have pegged Duncan as the leading suspect in the 1997 kidnapping and murder of California 10-year-old Anthony Martinez. A Justice Department source told The Spokesman-Review in August that during a conversation with FBI agents Duncan had implicated himself in the 1996 deaths of two Seattle girls.

A Jan. 2 entry in the new blog is titled “Do I feel Remorse?” The passage does not address the crimes Duncan has been charged with the ones he’s suspected of committing. Instead, the author writes that he’s remorseful for walking past nursing homes and not stopping to visit or the times he was riding his bike and not thinking about those who were unable to walk.

“I feel remorse for every time I gassed up my car instead of protesting the war in Iraq,” it says. “I feel remorse for every time I set (sic) money to the cable company but not to help feed the millions of starving children and the world.”

Kootenai County public defender John Adams and Prosecutor Bill Douglas declined to comment on the possibility that Duncan was writing for the Internet from behind bars.

Kootenai County sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger said inmates don’t have Internet access. As to whether Duncan is sending blog entries through the mail, Wolfinger said he doesn’t know.

Though jailers scan inmates’ outgoing mail for requests for contraband or help in planning an escape, Wolfinger said the letters aren’t read “word for word.”

Hammer said the person maintaining Duncan’s new blog was trying to keep its existence under wraps and hoped Duncan might provide evidence to implicate himself. Hammer, who runs an unrelated blog dedicated to Duncan’s case, said she didn’t mention the new blog on her site until she found out someone had “leaked” information about the site.

She said she began getting calls from the news media about Duncan blogging again.

“It’s really unfortunate it happened now,” Hammer said. “As you can see … he’s starting to talk.”

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