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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Duncan’s competence at sentencing to be reconsidered

Condemned serial killer Joseph E. Duncan is getting another day in court. Duncan, on death row for the torture and slaying of a North Idaho boy he abducted in 2005 after slaughtering much of the youngster’s family, will undergo a hearing to determine whether he was mentally competent when he decided to represent himself and waive his appeal rights.

Duncan sentence faces test

BOISE – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered convicted killer Joseph Duncan back into court in Idaho, saying a federal judge should have ordered a competency hearing before allowing Duncan to waive appeal of his death sentence. The appeals court ordered U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge to hold a “retrospective” competency hearing, exploring whether Duncan was competent in November 2008 when he told Lodge he didn’t want to appeal his triple death sentence for the kidnapping, torture and murder of a North Idaho boy. If he’s found competent after the hearing, the death sentence would go forward.

Duncan requests attorney ahead of California trial

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.

Joseph Duncan

News about the investigation, trial and sentencing of Joseph Edward Duncan for the 2005 kidnap, torture and murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene of Coeur d’Alene; the murders of Dylan’s mother, mother’s fiance and 13-year-old brother; and the kidnapping and molestation of Dylan’s then-8-year-old sister Shasta.

Duncan sentenced on remaining charges

BOISE – In addition to three death sentences, killer and child molester Joseph Duncan is now under nine life prison sentences. “There’ve been no redeeming qualities demonstrated throughout the course of your life that would lessen the risk to society,” U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge told the bearded, long-haired Duncan in court Monday, as he sat with his head bowed and received his final sentences in Idaho.

Duncan jurors offered counseling

BOISE – Jurors who imposed the death penalty on Joseph Duncan are being offered help coping with the horrific things they saw and heard during the killer’s sentencing trial. The U.S. District Court in Boise confirmed Thursday that counseling is available to the jurors who viewed grisly evidence, including human remains, a wire noose and videos of Duncan torturing the boy he later killed, 9-year-old Dylan Groene.

Amid evil, jury shines moral light

As I write this Wednesday the newsroom is abuzz with the latest on a two-legged monster. A federal jury in Boise just ruled that Joseph Duncan must die for his repugnant and rapacious acts against humanity.

Dylan’s father, relatives testify

BOISE – With heartfelt testimony from the father of murdered Dylan Groene, prosecutors wrapped up their case Tuesday in the federal death penalty sentencing trial for admitted killer Joseph Duncan. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge set closing arguments for 9 a.m. today, Boise time, after which the case will go to the jury to decide whether Duncan should die for his crimes against the 9-year-old Coeur d’Alene boy and his sister, Shasta. Asked what he learned from his youngest son, Steve Groene said it was a lesson he unfortunately didn’t learn until after Dylan died: “Every minute with your children – you can’t take any of that time for granted, because you can wake up the next day, they may not be there.”

Killings of three other children recounted

BOISE – A mother sobbed on the witness stand, telling of her two murdered daughters. Glum federal jurors listened to her testimony, but several looked away from her and across the room at Joseph Duncan, who told the FBI he kidnapped the two girls on a Seattle street and killed them with a crowbar. While Duncan sat at the defense table, looking down, several male jurors watched the bearded, orange-shirted, wild-haired defendant with narrowed eyes.

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 told a federal jury Friday. That admission came in Duncan’s closing arguments, a scant two hours before the jury of eight men and four women unanimously found him eligible for the death penalty on three charges for the kidnap, sexual torture and murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene in 2005.

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 showed Duncan’s shotgun couldn’t fire accidentally. John Webb, an FBI firearms examiner expert from Fredericksburg, Va., told the court, “The Browning 500 is a quality firearm that’s been produced for over 100 years. … I could not make the Exhibit 41 shotgun fire without pulling the trigger.”

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 her rescue. In a videotaped interview shown to jurors in Duncan’s death penalty sentencing trial Tuesday, Shasta Groene told police that at one point Duncan brandished the claw hammer that he’d used to fatally bludgeon three members of her family.