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The Trial of Joseph Edward Duncan

Background and Latest Developments

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Joseph Duncan

Joseph Edward Duncan III

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Joseph Edward Duncan III was out on a $15,000 bond in Minnesota for molesting a 7-year-old boy, when three people were killed in an Idaho home and their two children kidnapped. Six weeks later, Duncan was arrested after he was spotted in a restaurant with eight-year-old Shasta Groene.

Duncan has been charged in Idaho state court with three counts of first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the deaths of Brenda Groene, Slade Groene, and Mark Mckenzie. He will also face federal charges for the kidnappings of Dylan and Shasta Groene and for Dylan's murder.

Latest Developments

Court Upholds Joseph Edward Duncan's Appeal
Mar. 28, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to overturn an appeal from a man who killed three members of an Idaho family so that he could kidnap their small children. The court decided that it would not hear the case, sending the issue of whether Joseph Edward Duncan III was competent when he decided to waive his appeal in his 2008 death penalty case back to the lower courts.

Previous Developments

Joseph Edward Duncan Pleads to 1997 Murder
March 16, 2011
Already under a federal death sentence, convicted serial killer Joseph Edward Duncan III has entered a guilty plea to the 1997 murder of a 10-year-old California boy in a deal that will allow him to avoid another death penalty sentence. Closing the California case, however, could actually speed up his federal execution, prosecutors said.

California to Prosecute Joseph Edward Duncan
Jan. 16, 2009
Although confessed child killer and sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan III is already facing three death sentences, the state of California plans to try him for the 1997 kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez.

Judge Tosses Appeal in Dylan Groene Case
Nov. 24, 2008
A federal judge has thrown out a death penalty appeals filed on behalf of convicted killer Joseph Edward Duncan III after ruling that Duncan understands the consequences of dropping the appeal.

Idaho Killer Gets 6 More Life Sentences
Nov. 3, 3008
Three and a half years after Joseph Edward Duncan III killed three people so that he could kidnap two Idaho children, he has received his final sentences in state and federal court. Duncan was given three life sentences in state court and three more in federal court on the same day.

Joseph Edward Duncan III Sentenced to Death
Aug. 27, 2008
A federal jury in Boise, Idaho deliberated only three hours before voting to sentence convicted killer and sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan III for the kidnapping, torture, sexual assault and murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene. Judge Edward Lodge immediately sentenced Duncan to death.

Duncan Jury Hears Details of Family's Murder
Aug. 13, 2008
A federal jury that will decide whether Joseph Edward Duncan III lives or dies covered their mouths and shook their heads as prosecutors outlined the gruesome details of the murder of an Idaho family and the kidnapping, torture and abuse of Dylan and Shasta Groene and the murder of Dylan.

Duncan Allowed to Represent Himself
July 28, 2008
U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge ruled that Joseph Edward Duncan III is competent to act as his own attorney during the proceedings.

Duncan's Attorneys Want Him Declared Incompetent
July 18, 2008
Confessed killer Joseph Edward Duncan III wants to represent himself during the penalty phase of his trial, but his court-appointed attorneys want the judge to find him incompetent to do it.

Jury Selection Begins for Joseph Edward Duncan
April 14, 2008
A pool of more than 300 potential jurors has been called to a make-shift federal courtroom in Boise, Idaho, to determine whether or not confessed killer Joseph Edward Duncan III will get the death penalty or life in prison.

Duncan's Attorneys Try to Delay Sentencing
Feb. 8, 2008
Attorneys for Joseph Edward Duncan III have filed several motions in federal court to delay the death penalty sentencing hearing scheduled for April in connection with the abduction of Dylan and Shasta Groene and the murder of Dylan.

Joseph Duncan Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges
Dec. 3, 2007
Joseph Edward Duncan III has entered guilty pleas to 10 federal charges in connection with the kidnapping of Dylan and Shasta Groene and the murder of Dylan in a move that will spare Shasta from having to testify. Duncan entered the pleas without a plea deal, which means there will be a penalty trial in his case.

Joseph Duncan's Lawyers Want Case Dismissed
Nov. 14, 2007
As the trial of Joseph Edward Duncan III approaches, his attorneys have filed motions asking that the entire federal case against him be thrown out along with statements he made to investigators and a jailhouse chaplain after he was arrested.

Computer Files Key in Joseph Duncan Case
Sept. 18, 2007
According to court papers filed this week, three forensic computer experts are scheduled to testify at the federal trial of Joseph Edward Duncan III about a laptop computer found in the vehicle Duncan was driving when he was arrested.

California Wants to Extradite Duncan
Feb. 23, 2007
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants Joseph Edward Duncan extradited to California to face trial for the 1997 murder of a 10-year-old boy, but federal prosecutors in Idaho said they plan to pursue their case against the convicted sexual offender first.

Duncan Confesses to Three More Murders
Jan. 24, 2007
The man charged with kidnapping Dylan and Shasta Groene and killing Dylan has confessed to the murders of three other children in Washington State and California.

Duncan Indicted on Federal Charges
Jan. 19, 2007
Joseph Edward Duncan III has now been indicted in federal court for the kidnapping of the family's two children and the murder of one of them.

Duncan Pleads Guilty, Shasta Avoids Testifying
Oct. 16, 2006
Joseph Edward Duncan III pled guilty to the murders of Shasta Groene's family in a last-minute plea deal that spared him from the death penalty in Idaho and spared the young victim the trama of having to testify in his trial.

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