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Duncan requests attorney ahead of California trial

John Asbury (Riverside, Calif.) Press-Enterprise

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 plans to represent himself in the new death penalty case.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Downing on Monday appointed Gail O’Rane, an attorney from the Riverside County public defender’s Capital Defense Unit, after Duncan said he had changed his mind about representing himself.

Neither Duncan nor his newly appointed attorney gave a reason for why he wanted an attorney. He requested to represent himself last year after a jury ruled he was fit to stand trial and capable of assisting an attorney.

Duncan was brought to Indio, Calif., in January 2009 to face murder and torture charges in the 1997 death of Anthony Martinez, a 10-year-old boy from Beaumont, Calif., who was taken at knifepoint and discovered 10 days later beaten to death with a rock and bound in duct tape.

Duncan was extradited to Southern California after being given three federal death sentences for the kidnapping, torture, sexual assault and murder of Dylan Groene, 9, in 2005. He received nine life terms for the murders of Brenda Groene, Mark McKenzie and Groene’s 13-year-old son, Slade, in their Wolf Lodge Bay home east of Coeur d’Alene, and for the abduction and abuse of Shasta Groene, 8. Duncan kept Shasta and Dylan captive in a remote Montana cabin before killing the boy. The girl was rescued at a Coeur d’Alene restaurant, where Duncan was apprehended.

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