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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Duncan confessed, feds say

A decade before Joseph Duncan allegedly abducted and killed Dylan Groene, he killed two girls in Western Washington and a boy in Southern California – crimes to which he has confessed, federal prosecutors said. Duncan, 43, has admitted to the 1997 slaying of Anthony Martinez in Riverside County, Calif., and the 1996 slayings of 9-year-old Carmen Cubias and 11-year-old Sammiejo White in the Seattle area, according to federal court documents filed Tuesday and reported first at

Duncan lawyer to seek delay

BOISE – Joseph Duncan was ordered Friday to stand trial in federal court in March, but his attorney says the convicted killer's defense won't be ready by then. "The responsibilities in a case such as this are so extensive that as much time as needed is certainly going to be granted," said defense attorney Roger Peven. "It's going to be quite a while."

Feds indict Duncan

A federal grand jury indicted Joseph Duncan on Thursday for the torture killing of 9-year-old Dylan Groene and the May 2005 kidnappings of the boy and his sister, Shasta, from their family's home, east of Coeur d'Alene. The announcement came just hours after officials in Riverside County, Calif., charged Duncan in the 1997 killing of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez.

Feds file charge to keep Duncan in Idaho

BOISE – Federal prosecutors have filed their first charge against convicted murderer Joseph Duncan, but it's not for abducting two North Idaho children and killing one of them. Duncan has been charged with illegally driving a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo across state lines. Federal investigators say he rented the car from a rental car agency in Minnesota and never returned it.

Decisions not made on 2nd Duncan trial

A decision hasn't been made on where Joseph Duncan might be tried for alleged crimes against the youngest Groene children, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Haws said Tuesday. Haws said he's not sure about the origin of media reports that Duncan would be tried in Boise.

In brief: Groene seeking motorcycle raffle

Steve Groene is looking for a nonprofit group that can raffle off his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Some proceeds from the bike's raffle will go to the individuals who helped rescue his daughter, Shasta Groene, after the Wolf Lodge girl had been kidnapped and assaulted following the murder of her mother and brother in 2005.

Groene gets surprise gift: custom bike

Steve Groene arrived at The Coeur d'Alene Resort on Friday anticipating a press conference about the federal case against Joseph Edward Duncan III, the man who killed Groene's 13-year-old son and is suspected in the death of his 9-year-old boy. As Groene stood in front of a now-familiar crowd of local and national media with his daughter, Shasta, and Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas, he noticed his family and biker buddies were in the room.

McKenzie files suit to block Duncan profit

The brother of murder victim Mark McKenzie is suing to prevent confessed killer Joseph Edward Duncan from making money off his crimes. Steve McKenzie filed the suit on behalf of his brother and his brother's fiancee, Brenda Matthews Groene, whom Duncan bludgeoned with a hammer in May 2005.

Duncan defense costs add up

Joseph Duncan's defense team spent about $400,000 preparing for his triple-murder trial in Coeur d'Alene before the trial was canceled last week after a last-minute plea bargain. The Kootenai County public defender's office paid private investigators and defense experts tens of thousands of dollars and spent hundreds more on meetings over meals, including some at upscale Coeur d'Alene restaurants, according to records obtained by The Spokesman-Review.

Duncan describes murders in detail, gets moved to state prison

After 478 days in isolation, Kootenai County's most notorious inmate was transferred Monday to the state's maximum-security prison in Kuna, Idaho. Joseph Duncan was moved three days after an interview with Kootenai County investigators, a requirement of the Oct. 16 plea deal in which he admitted to three charges of murder and kidnapping.

Shasta key to Duncan plea deal

Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas said Wednesday he feels bad for family members of Joseph Duncan's murder victims if they misunderstood key points in the plea deal that Douglas crafted and Duncan accepted over the weekend. "Perhaps to some of the family members it was unclear," Douglas told The Spokesman-Review.

Password is key bargaining chip

Joseph Duncan didn't throw in all his cards when he accepted a last-minute plea deal that short-circuited the need for a jury trial. As part of the unique plea bargain, the 43-year-old confessed killer must answer questions put to him by Kootenai County sheriff's detectives who investigated the grisly triple-murders at Wolf Lodge Bay in May 2005.

Duncan admits guilt

Justice and closure. The words were repeated again and again Monday morning as investigators, attorneys and victims' relatives reacted to Joseph Duncan's admission that he murdered three members of a Coeur d'Alene-area family.

Duncan deal in works?

Jury selection in the triple-murder trial of Joseph Edward Duncan III has been canceled, fueling speculation that a plea deal has been reached with Kootenai County prosecutors. Kootenai County sheriff's Capt. Ben Wolfinger issued a brief statement late Sunday, saying that instead of jury selection, a 9 a.m. hearing will be held today in front of District Judge Fred Gibler.

Death sentence would be first for prosecutor, defender

If Joseph Duncan is convicted and sentenced to death, it will be a first for both Kootenai County Public Defender John Adams and Prosecutor Bill Douglas. In the dozen years that Adams has been the county's chief public defender, not a single death sentence has been handed down. In his career, not one person he has represented at trial has been sent to death row.

The case against Duncan

Joseph Edward Duncan will be tried in Kootenai County without two key pieces of evidence: The murder weapon and physical proof that in May 2005 he was in the Wolf Lodge home where he's accused of having murdered three members of a local family. The only eyewitness who can put Duncan in the family's home at the time of the crimes is 9-year-old Shasta Groene, whose testimony is crucial in convicting the accused killer. Duncan's trial starts Monday with jury selection.

Duncan jury pool gets questionnaire

A hefty jury questionnaire was mailed recently to 800 Kootenai County residents summoned for the jury pool in the Joseph Duncan triple-murder trial. The prospective jurors, who are scheduled to begin reporting to court Monday to answer questions from defense and prosecution lawyers, were required to answer 75 questions "truthfully and completely" without consulting anyone else.

Duncan jury selection closed

The public and news media will not be allowed to watch jury selection in the Joseph Duncan murder-kidnapping trial that begins Monday in Coeur d'Alene. First District Judge Fred Gibler ruled Friday that the accused killer's "right to a fair trial outweighs the right of the press" and the public to watch as potential jurors are questioned by attorneys in the case.

Shasta competent to testify, judge says

Shasta Groene, the key witness in the case against accused killer Joseph Duncan, has been declared competent to testify in his triple-murder trial. First District Judge Fred Gibler spent 90 minutes interviewing 9-year-old Shasta in his chambers Thursday before announcing she could take the stand.