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Joseph Edward DUNCAN III

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Kidnapping
Number of victims: 5 - 7 +
Date of murders: July 6, 1996 / April 4, 1997 / May 16, 2005
Date of arrest: July 2, 2005
Date of birth: February 25, 1963
Victims profile: Sammiejo White, 11, and her sister, Carmen Cubias, 9 / Anthony Michael Martinez, 10 / Brenda Groene, 40; her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, 37; and her sons, Slade Groene, 13, and Dylan Groene, 9
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer
Location: Washington/California/Idaho, USA
Status: In all, Duncan has been convicted in the state of Idaho for kidnapping and murdering the three victims in Coeur d'Alene, for which he was given six life sentences; in federal court for kidnapping Shasta and Dylan Groene and murdering Dylan, for which he was given three death sentences; and in the state of California for kidnapping and murdering Martinez, for which he is scheduled to be given another life sentence
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Joseph Edward Duncan III (born February 25, 1963) is an American convicted serial killer and sex offender who is currently serving multiple concurrent death sentences and life sentences in conjunction with the 2005 kidnapping and murders of members of the Groene family of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

He has also been convicted and scheduled to be sentenced to an additional life sentence for the 1997 kidnapping and murder of Anthony Martinez of Beaumont, California, and has confessed but not been charged with the 1996 murder of two girls in Seattle, Washington.

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Duncan's lengthy criminal history dates to when he was 15 years old. In 1980, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a boy in Tacoma and as a result has spent most of his adult life in prison. He was paroled in 1994 but was returned to prison in 1997 for violating the terms of his parole.

In May 2005, Kootenai County, Idaho authorities discovered the bodies of Brenda Groene, her boyfriend, and her 13-year-old son in the family home near Coeur d'Alene. Authorities also noted that Groene's two other children were missing: Shasta, 8, and Dylan, 9. After an intense search for the two children, Shasta was found alive with Duncan at a restaurant in Coeur d'Alene nearly seven weeks later, and Duncan was arrested in conjunction with her kidnapping. Dylan's remains were found days later in a remote area near St. Regis, Montana. Duncan was subsequently charged with murdering Dylan as well as the three victims at the Coeur d'Alene home.

During his incarceration, authorities connected Duncan with the long unsolved murders of Anthony Martinez in California and two girls in Seattle, all of which occurred during Duncan's parole from 1994–1997. Of those murders, Duncan has only been charged in the California case. In all, Duncan has been convicted in the state of Idaho for kidnapping and murdering the three victims in Coeur d'Alene, for which he was given six life sentences; in federal court for kidnapping Shasta and Dylan Groene and murdering Dylan, for which he was given three death sentences; and in the state of California for kidnapping and murdering Martinez, for which he is scheduled to be given another life sentence.

Early criminal history

Duncan has a long history as a violent sexual predator. His first recorded sex crime occurred in 1978 in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington, when he was 15 years old. In that incident, he raped a nine-year-old boy at gunpoint. The following year, he was arrested driving a stolen car. He was sentenced as a juvenile and sent to Dyslin's Boys' ranch in Tacoma, where he told a therapist who was assigned to his case that he had bound and sexually assaulted six boys, according to a report by the Associated Press. He also told the therapist that he estimated that he had raped 13 younger boys by the time he was 16.

In 1980, also in Tacoma, Duncan stole a number of guns from a neighbor and then abducted a 14-year-old boy and sodomized him at gunpoint. Duncan was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but was released on parole in 1994 after serving 14 years. While out on parole, Duncan is known to have lived in several places in the Seattle area. He was arrested in 1996 for marijuana use and released on parole several weeks later with new restrictions. Authorities believe that during his parole, Duncan murdered Sammiejo White and Carmen Cubias in Seattle in 1996 and Anthony Martinez in Riverside County, California in 1997; however, both those cases went cold and were not tied to Duncan until after his arrest in the Groene case. Duncan was arrested in Kansas and returned to prison in 1997 after violating the terms of his parole. Duncan was released from prison on July 14, 2000 with time off for good behavior, and moved to Fargo, North Dakota

In March 2005, Duncan was charged with the July 3, 2004 molestation of two boys at a playground in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. On April 5, 2005, he appeared before a Becker County judge, who set bail at US$15,000. A Fargo businessman with whom Duncan had become acquainted helped him post bail; however, Duncan skipped bail and disappeared. On June 1, 2005, a federal warrant was issued for Duncan's arrest on the charge of "unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Idaho murders and kidnappings

On May 16, 2005, Kootenai County, Idaho authorities discovered the bodies of Brenda Groene, 40; her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, 37; and her son, Slade Groene, 13, in their home along Lake Coeur d'Alene, outside the city of Coeur d'Alene. Two of Brenda Groene's other children, Dylan, 9, and Shasta, 8, were missing. An AMBER Alert was issued and searchers combed the area for the missing children while authorities investigated the deaths at the home as homicides. Autopsies determined the cause of death to be "blunt trauma to the head"; authorities also noted that the victims had been bound.

Seven weeks later, in the early morning hours of July 2, 2005, Shasta Groene was seen in a man's custody at a Denny's restaurant in Coeur d'Alene. A waitress, manager, and two customers at the restaurant recognized Shasta from the media attention and surreptitiously called police and positioned themselves to prevent Duncan from leaving. Police officers arrived at the restaurant and arrested the man, later identified as Duncan, without incident.

Shasta Groene identified herself to a waitress at the restaurant and to authorities, and was taken to Kootenai Medical Center for medical treatment and to be reunited with her father. Coeur d'Alene police, meanwhile, detained Duncan on kidnapping charges and on his outstanding federal warrant.

When Shasta Groene was found without Dylan, authorities held little hope of finding Dylan alive. Police asked the public for tips, specifically with respect to sightings of the stolen red Jeep Cherokee with Missouri license plates that Duncan was driving at the time of his arrest. Authorities discovered that Duncan had rented the car in Minnesota and never returned it. A gas station employee in Kellogg, about 40 miles (64 km) east of Coeur d'Alene, recognized the vehicle as one that had stopped at her station hours before Duncan was arrested. The employee suspected the girl wandering around the station might have been Shasta, but did not confront her, as nothing appeared out of the ordinary. The employee and her manager notified authorities after reviewing surveillance camera footage and seeing Duncan and Shasta in the video.

Many tips provided to authorities centered around remote areas along the Idaho–Montana border. On July 4, 2005, investigators found human remains at a remote makeshift campsite in the Lolo National Forest near St. Regis, Montana. The remains were sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia for DNA testing and were positively identified as Dylan Groene.

Shasta Groene's interview

Much of what is known about the murders of the Groene family was revealed by Shasta Groene herself. According to Shasta Groene's police interview, Duncan killed her mother, older brother and her mother's fiance and then took her and her brother away in the red Jeep Cherokee.

Shasta told investigators her mother called her into the living room, from her bedroom where she had been sleeping, and she saw Duncan wearing black gloves and holding a gun. Her captor tied her mother's hands with nylon zip ties, and did the same to her mother's fiance and her brother Slade. Dylan and Shasta were removed from the house and placed inside the stolen rental car. While she waited with her brother, she heard her mother's fiance scream out and then saw her injured older brother staggering away from the entrance to the home. Duncan then bludgeoned the three to death; neither Shasta nor Dylan witnessed the murders. Both Shasta and Dylan were removed to other locations, where they were repeatedly molested for six weeks. She said that they drove a long distance and stayed in two different campsites, Duncan told her of having beaten her family members to death with a hammer. Dylan's remains were found in a remote, woodland area in Montana days after Shasta was rescued. Shasta is now in the custody of her father.

Other crimes

Duncan's arrest led the FBI to launch a nationwide review of unsolved missing child cases. He was implicated as a possible suspect in several crimes that occurred between 1994 and 1997, when he was on parole, and between 2000 and 2005, when he was free from prison. Although he was cleared as a suspect in some cases, authorities in California and Washington had enough evidence to believe Duncan had committed unsolved murders in their jurisdictions.

Anthony Martínez

On April 4, 1997, 10-year-old Anthony Michael Martinez was playing with friends in the front yard of his home in Beaumont, Riverside County, California when an unknown man approached the group asking for help finding a missing cat. When the boys refused, the man grabbed Martinez at knifepoint and threw him into his vehicle.

After a 2-week search, on April 19 Martinez's body was found nude and partially decomposed in Indio. Investigators noted that he had been sexually assaulted and bound with duct tape. Although a composite sketch of the suspect was made available and a partial fingerprint taken from the duct tape found on Martinez's body, the case eventually went cold.

In July 2005, bloggers noticed similarities between Duncan and the composite sketch in the Martinez case, as well as between Duncan's vehicle and the one Martinez's assailant was driving. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children became involved, and in turn contacted Riverside County authorities. Riverside authorities were able to match the fingerprint taken from Martinez's body to Duncan, and on August 3 the Riverside County Sheriff officially announced Duncan's connection with the Martinez case.

Sammiejo White and Carmen Cubias

Additionally, federal prosecutors have revealed that Duncan confessed to the murders of Sammiejo White, 11, and her sister, Carmen Cubias, 9, who vanished on July 6, 1996, after leaving the Crest Motel in Seattle, Washington to panhandle. Their remains were found February 10, 1998, in Bothell, Washington.

Trials

Joseph E. Duncan III has been convicted by three separate courts: first, by the state of Idaho for the kidnapping and murders of Brenda and Slade Groene and Mark McKenzie; second, by U.S. federal court for the kidnapping of Shasta and Dylan Groene, the murder of Dylan Groene, and various other crimes; and third, by the state of California for the kidnapping and murder of Anthony Martinez.

Idaho

Duncan first appeared in a Kootenai County court on July 13, 2005, where he was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of first degree kidnapping, all in conjunction with the deaths of Brenda and Slade Groene and Mark McKenzie. Kootenai County prosecutors had initially planned to charge Duncan with the kidnappings of Shasta and Dylan Groene; however, they deferred those charges to the federal court system, as transporting children across state lines for the purpose of sexual exploitation is a federal offense under U.S. law.

Trial was set to begin on January 17, 2006, but was delayed until April 4, after the district judge granted a request to the defense for more time to prepare for the trial, and then again to October 26, after the judge in the case stated that "No one wants to try this case twice, including me." Duncan's defense attorneys blamed the multiple postponements on the prosecution's insistence on pursuing the death penalty.

On October 16, 2006, shortly after the jury selection process began, Kootenai County prosecutors and Duncan's attorney reached a plea bargain in which Duncan pleaded guilty to all state charges against him. He was immediately sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the three kidnapping charges. Sentencing on the three murder charges was continued pending the outcome of his federal trial on kidnapping and murder charges; the judge said at the time that if he did not receive the death penalty on the federal charges, he would return to Kootenai County for a death penalty phase on the state murder charges.

Over 2 years later, after being sentenced to death on federal charges, Kootenai County sentenced Duncan to three additional life sentences. Duncan also agreed to cooperate with Kootenai County sheriff's detectives investigating his crimes and provide passwords to encrypted files stored on his computer.

U.S. federal court

On January 18, 2007, Duncan was indicted by a federal grand jury in Coeur d'Alene on 10 counts of "kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death, aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, and sexual exploitation of a child resulting in death," and other crimes related to illegal firearm possession and vehicle theft. He was arraigned the following day at a federal court in Boise, Idaho, where a judge ordered Duncan to stand trial the following March. Duncan's defense attorneys immediately requested a postponement, which was granted the week the trial was originally scheduled to begin; a new trial date was set for January 22, 2008.

On December 3, 2007, Duncan pleaded guilty to all 10 charges against him. As a condition of the agreement, Shasta Groene would not have to testify in the penalty phase of the trial. Due to a gag order, other details of the plea agreement were not released.

The penalty phase for Duncan's federal trial began on August 13, 2008. On August 27, 2008, after 3 hours of deliberation, the jury recommended the death penalty, and the judge in the case sentenced Duncan to three death sentences for "kidnapping resulting in death, sexual exploitation of a child resulting in death, and use of a firearm in a violent crime resulting in death," all related to the death of Dylan Groene. On November 3, 2008, Duncan was sentenced to an additional three federal life sentences for kidnapping Shasta Groene and for sexually abusing Shasta and Dylan Groene.

California

On January 18, 2007 – the same day Duncan was indicted in federal court – Riverside County officials announced that Duncan was charged with Martinez's murder. Despite attempts by Riverside County officials to extradite Duncan to California, including an appeal by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Duncan's federal trial proceeded. He was eventually extradited to California on January 24, 2009, five months after being sentenced to death by federal court.

On March 15, 2011, Duncan pleaded guilty to Martinez's murder. As part of his plea deal, Duncan will be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or right to appeal.

Although Duncan could have faced a separate death sentence in addition to the ones he had already been sentenced to in federal court, Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach justified the life sentence by stating that he had consulted with the Martinez family, who wanted closure in the case, and that "the federal system will kill him long before the state of California would have seriously considered it." He is scheduled to be formally sentenced on April 5, 2011, after which he will be returned to death row at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

"The Fifth Nail" and "Fifth Nail Revelations"

He published his ideas on the Internet. He titled it "The Fifth Nail", which is also the URL for his personal Web site. According to lore, in addition to the four nails used to pierce the body of Jesus Christ in His crucifixion, there was a fifth nail that was taken away and hidden by Roma. Duncan adopted the name for his own website and blog. The website depicted Duncan's day-to-day life as a sex offender.

"The Fifth Nail" advocates for sex offenders and contained material that called for the legal reform law aimed at sex offenders, calling them, "State Sanctioned Discrimination." Duncan was particularly frustrated by the requirement for sex offenders to participate in a public registry.

With the help of a "ghost blogger", Duncan posted to his new blog, "Fifth Nail Revelations", from prison. He wrote his blog entries by hand and mailed them to the "ghost blogger", who posted them exactly as written. According to media reports, law enforcement agencies have been watching the contents of the new blog in hopes of gathering incriminating information about Duncan's crimes, both known and unknown.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Joseph Edward Duncan III (born February 25, 1963) is an American violent sex offender who received national attention after being arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Shasta Groene, age eight, and her brother Dylan, age nine.

Duncan has a long history as a violent sexual predator, and was clinically diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder in 1980, while in prison for raping a younger boy at knifepoint.

In 2004, Duncan groped the genitals of a 7-year-old boy. He was arrested in April 2005 in Minnesota. The judge granted bail at $15,000. A businessman in Fargo, Joe Crary, gave Duncan money for bail. While thus freed Duncan jumped bail.

Idaho police believe Duncan was also involved in the May 2005 murders of Dylan and Shasta's family: Brenda Groene, 40, Slade Groene, 13, and Mark McKenzie, 37. According to Shasta's police interview, an intruder tied her family members up, and then she and her brother were taken into a 2000 Jeep Cherokee.

A camera in a convenience store, approximately forty miles outside of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, recorded Shasta wandering the aisles while Duncan read a newspaper. Later on, in the early morning hours of July 2, 2005, Shasta was found in Duncan's custody. The two had entered a Denny's restaurant in Coeur d'Alene.

A waitress recognized Shasta from media reports, as well as posters that had been posted around town and in the restaurant. The waitress, Amber Deahn, worked with her manager to delay the suspect and contact local police. Deahn stalled the order until the police arrived and made a positive ID on the stolen rental car 2000 Jeep Cherokee that also displayed stolen Missouri state license plates.

Police later entered the restaurant and arrested Duncan, removing Shasta to a local hospital for observation and care. The waitress asked Shasta, "Where is your brother?" Shasta replied, "My brother is in heaven."

Shasta told investigators her mother called her into the living room, from her bedroom where she had been sleeping, and she saw Duncan wearing black gloves and holding a gun. Her captor tied her mother's hands with nylon zip ties, and did the same to her mother's boyfriend and an older brother. Dylan and Shasta were removed from the house and placed inside the stolen rental car. While she waited with her brother, she heard her mother's boyfriend scream out and then saw her injured older brother staggering away from the entrance to the home.

Both Shasta and Dylan were removed to other locations, where they were repeatedly raped and molested for six weeks. She said that they drove long distances and had stayed in various campgrounds, while Duncan bragged of having beaten family members to death with a hammer.

Dylan's remains were found in a remote, woodland area in Montana days after Shasta was rescued. Shasta is now in the custody of her biological father.

Duncan appeared in court on July 6, 2005 during his arraignment on two counts of first-degree kidnapping. His trial was set to begin on January 17, 2006, but was delayed until April 4, 2006 after the district judge granted a request to the defense for more time to prepare for the trial, and then again to October 26, 2006 after 1st District Judge Fred Gibler stated that "No one wants to try this case twice, including me," thus granting Duncan's attorneys the six-month extension. Duncan may face further charges for failure to appear and skipping bail in Minnesota.

"The Fifth Nail" and "Fifth Nail Revelations"

Duncan recorded many of his antisocial sexual fantasies, even to the extent of becoming a sex offender advocate working for the repeal of sex offender law. He published his ideas on the Internet. He titled it "Fifth Nail," which is also the URL for his personal website.

According to lore, in addition to the four nails used to pierce the body of Jesus Christ as he was hung upon the cross, there was a fifth nail that was taken away and hid by Gypsies. Duncan adopted the name for his own website and blog. The website depicted Duncan's day to day life as a sex offender. Together with his many years of incarceration, Duncan expressed his feelings of persecution.

Investigators are also considering the possibility that a "Minnesota girl" mentioned in his online diary could be related to another minor who is listed as missing. Duncan can receive the Death penalty.

"The Fifth Nail" advocates for sex offenders and contained material that called for the legal reform law aimed at sex offenders, calling them, "State Sanctioned Discrimination." Duncan was particularly angered by the requirement for sex offenders to participate in a public registry. Criminologists and psychiatric researchers are studying the blog to better understand the mind and behaviors of a sociopath.

With the help of a "ghost blogger," Joseph Duncan has been posting to his new blog "Fifth Nail Revelations," from prison. He writes his blog entries by hand and mails them to the "ghost blogger," who posts them exactly as written.

According to media reports, law enforcement agencies have been watching the contents of the new blog in hopes of gathering incriminating information about Duncan's crimes, both known and unknown. People familiar with the case and with Duncan's handwriting say that it's all but certain that the entries are authentic.

Cold case

In August 2005, California cold case investigators connected a single fingerprint to Duncan in an unsolved homicide. The case, cold since 1997, is the murder of 10-year-old Anthony Michael Martinez, a resident of Beaumont, California. Anthony was abducted April 4, 1997 right in front of his friends after an unknown male approached them with an offer of one dollar, if they help him find his missing cat. The boys refused the offer, but the stranger grabbed Anthony by the collar, placed a knife near his throat, and threw him into a white vehicle.

Anthony's nude body was found April 19 near Indio, California. His hands were bound with duct tape, where the killer left his fingerprint. Duncan is believed to have been in the southern California region around April 1997. It is unknown when Duncan will be formally charged. If charged and convicted he may face a life sentence in Federal Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado.

 
 

Prosecutors: Alleged Idaho kidnapper, killer confesses to slaying 3 other children

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

BOISE, Idaho —  A man accused of kidnapping two Idaho children, killing one of them, after slaying their family has confessed to the killings of three other children a decade ago in Washington state and California, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The prosecutors cited the confessions to the old killings in court papers saying that intended to seek the death penalty against Joseph Edward Duncan III, who was indicted last week on charges involving the two northern Idaho children.

"The defendant has engaged in a continuing pattern of violence, attempted violence, and threatened violence," prosecutors said. Duncan "is likely to commit criminal acts of violence in the future that would constitute a continuing and serious threat to the lives and safety of others."

Roger Peven, Duncan's attorney, said he had not yet seen the filing and could not immediately comment on it.

Duncan is accused of kidnapping Dylan Groene, 9, and his sister Shasta, then 8, in May 2005, and taking them to the mountains of Montana, where prosecutors say he sexually abused them for weeks before killing Dylan. Duncan was arrested July 2, 2005, when he and Shasta were spotted at a Coeur d'Alene restaurant. The boy's body was found days later at a remote campsite.

The U.S. attorney's office said Duncan confessed that he killed Carmen Cubias, 9, and Sammiejo White, 11, in Washington state in 1996 and Anthony Martinez, 10, in California in 1997. Officials did not specify to whom Duncan made the confession.

The two girls were kidnapped from the Crest Motel in Seattle in July 1996. Their skeletal remains were found 17 months later in Bothell, a Seattle suburb. Anthony was forced into a car in Beaumont, Calif., in April 1997 as his friends looked on. Sixteen days later a forest ranger found the boy's nude, bound body about 70 miles to the east.

Last October, Duncan pleaded guilty in Idaho state court to first-degree murder and kidnapping for the May 16, 2005, hammer slayings of Dylan and Shasta's mother, Brenda Groene; her fiance, Mark McKenzie; and Groene's 13-year-old son, Slade. Prosecutors say he killed them to get the younger children.

If federal prosecutors fail to win a death sentence in the case involving the two younger children, a jury will be chosen in Idaho state court to consider whether to impose the death penalty on the murder counts that Duncan pleaded guilty to in October.

Duncan was charged Thursday in a California state court in Anthony's death. Prosecutors there said they also intend to seek the death penalty.

Duncan is a Tacoma, Wash., native who spent most of his adult life in Washington state prisons for sexual crimes against children.

In 2004, he had been arrested for allegedly molesting a 6-year-old boy and attempting to molest another boy in Detroit Lakes, Minn. Authorities say he jumped bail on that charge. 


 

Joseph Edward Duncan III (born February 25, 1963) is an alleged American serial killer, and convicted sex offender and murderer who received national attention after being arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Shasta Groene, age eight, and her brother Dylan, age nine.

Early criminal history

Duncan has a long history as a violent sexual predator, and was clinically diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder in 1980, while in prison for raping a younger boy at knifepoint.

In 2004, Duncan groped the genitals of a 7-year-old boy. He was arrested in April 2005 in Minnesota. The judge granted bail at $15,000. A businessman in Fargo, Joe Crary, gave Duncan money for bail. While thus freed Duncan jumped bail.

Shasta and Dylan

Idaho police are sure Duncan was also involved in the May 2005 murders of Dylan and Shasta's family: Brenda Groene, 40, Slade Groene, 13, and Mark McKenzie, 37. According to Shasta's police interview, an intruder tied her family members up, and then she and her brother were taken into a 2000 Jeep Cherokee.

A camera in a convenience store, approximately 40 miles outside of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, recorded Shasta wandering the aisles while Duncan read a newspaper. Later on, in the early morning hours of July 2, 2005, Shasta was found in Duncan's custody. The two had entered a Denny's restaurant in Coeur d'Alene.

A waitress recognized Shasta from media reports, as well as posters that had been posted around town and in the restaurant. The waitress, Amber Deahn, worked with her manager to delay the suspect and contact local police. Deahn stalled the order until the police arrived and made a positive ID on the stolen rental car, which also displayed stolen Missouri state license plates.

Police later entered the restaurant and arrested Duncan, removing Shasta to a local hospital for observation and care. The waitress asked Shasta, "Where is your brother?" Shasta replied, "My brother is in heaven."

Shasta told investigators her mother called her into the living room, from her bedroom where she had been sleeping, and she saw Duncan wearing black gloves and holding a gun. Her captor tied her mother's hands with nylon zip ties, and did the same to her mother's boyfriend and an older brother. Dylan and Shasta were removed from the house and placed inside the stolen rental car. While she waited with her brother, she heard her mother's boyfriend scream out and then saw her injured older brother staggering away from the entrance to the home.

Both Shasta and Dylan were removed to other locations, where they were repeatedly raped and molested for six weeks. She said that they drove long distances and had stayed in various campgrounds, while Duncan bragged of having beaten family members to death with a hammer.

Dylan's remains were found in a remote, woodland area in Montana days after Shasta was rescued. Shasta is now in the custody of her biological father.

Duncan appeared in court on July 6, 2005, during his araignment on two counts of first-degree kidnapping. His trial was set to begin on January 17, 2006, but was delayed until April 4, after the district judge granted a request to the defense for more time to prepare for the trial, and then again to October 26, after 1st District Judge Fred Gibler stated that "No one wants to try this case twice, including me", thus granting Duncan's attorneys the six month extension.

On October 16, 2006, Duncan plead guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping for the deaths of Brenda, Slade, and Mark. In an agreement reached with prosecutors, Duncan, 43, will receive three consecutive life sentences on the kidnapping charges, which stem from the manner in which Duncan detained the victims before their deaths.

His sentencing on the murder charges has been delayed until the completion of his case in federal court for crimes that allegedly occurred against Shasta and Dylan Groene after they were kidnapped from the family's home.

In a January 23, 2007 interview, Duncan admitted to killing three other children in the California area. Detectives are checking into this new information.

"The Fifth Nail" and "Fifth Nail Revelations"

Duncan recorded many of his violent sexual fantasies, even to the extent of becoming a sex offender advocate working for the repeal of sex offender law. He published his ideas on the Internet. He titled it "Fifth Nail", which is also the URL for his personal website.

According to lore, in addition to the four nails used to pierce the body of Jesus Christ as he was hung upon the cross, there was a fifth nail that was taken away and hid by Roma. Duncan adopted the name for his own website and blog. The website depicted Duncan's day to day life as a sex offender. Together with his many years of incarceration, Duncan expressed his feelings of persecution.

Investigators are also considering the possibility that a "Minnesota girl" mentioned in his online diary could be related to another minor who is listed as missing. Duncan can receive the death penalty.

"The Fifth Nail" advocates for sex offenders and contained material that called for the legal reform law aimed at sex offenders, calling them, "State Sanctioned Discrimination." Duncan was particularly angered by the requirement for sex offenders to participate in a public registry. Criminologists and psychiatric researchers are studying the blog to better understand the mind and behaviors of a sociopath.

With the help of a "ghost blogger", Duncan has been posting to his new blog "Fifth Nail Revelations", from prison. He writes his blog entries by hand and mails them to the "ghost blogger", who posts them exactly as written. According to media reports, law enforcement agencies have been watching the contents of the new blog in hopes of gathering incriminating information about Duncan's crimes, both known and unknown.

There has been no new blogs since May 2005.

Cold case

In August 2005, California cold case investigators connected a single fingerprint to Duncan in an unsolved homicide. The case, cold since 1997, is the murder of 10-year-old Anthony Michael Martinez, a resident of Beaumont, California.

Anthony was abducted April 4, 1997 right in front of his friends after an unknown male approached them with an offer of one dollar, if they help him find his missing cat. The boys refused the offer, but the stranger grabbed Anthony by the collar, placed a knife near his throat, and threw him into a white vehicle. Anthony's nude body was found April 19 near Indio, California. His hands were bound with duct tape, where the killer left his fingerprint.

Duncan is believed to have been in the southern California region around April 1997. It is unknown when Duncan will be formally charged. If charged and convicted he may face a life sentence in Federal Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado.

Answers.com

 
 

Idaho suspect tied to ’97 California slaying

Duncan’s fingerprint links him to old case, Riverside sheriff says

MSNBC staff and news service reports - Aug. 3, 2005

Idaho kidnapping and murder suspect Joseph Edward Duncan III is under investigation in the 1997 kidnapping and killing of a 10-year-old Beaumont, Calif., boy, the Riverside County sheriff said Wednesday.

Duncan, 42, is linked by a single fingerprint to the scene of the killing of Anthony Martinez, Sheriff Bob Doyle told a press conference in Riverside, 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

Duncan was arrested last month for investigation of bludgeoning to death three people at a home near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and kidnapping Shasta Groene, 8, and her brother Dylan, 9, on May 16.  Duncan was seized when people at a restaurant recognized the girl with him. Dylan’s body was later found in Montana.

Confirmation of the fingerprint match was received Monday, the sheriff said.

“We’re pretty confident that he’s our suspect. ... This is huge,” Doyle said. “We followed up 15,000 leads over eight years.  You can imagine the elation that everybody has.”

On April 4, 1997, Anthony was forced into a white car in the town of Beaumont as his friends watched. The children were playing when a stranger offered them a dollar to help find his lost cat. Sixteen days later, the boy’s nude, bound body was found in a desert area about 70 miles to the east.

Blue-eyed stranger

The kidnapper was described at the time as blue-eyed and mustachioed, but efforts to track him down proved fruitless despite the extremely high profile of the case. Before the end of that April, authorities had evaluated more than 100 people as suspects.

Anthony’s kidnapping united Beaumont, a small town on Interstate 10 in the inland region east of Los Angeles. Yellow ribbons were tied to trees and thousands of fliers with sketches of the suspect were handed out.

After circling vultures led a ranger to Anthony’s remains in Berdoo Canyon in the Indio Hills, residents of Beaumont wept and prayed, and authorities vowed to capture the killer.

“I know we’re going to get this guy,” then-Sheriff Larry Smith pledged at the time.

Idaho, federal cases

Duncan has been charged in Idaho with kidnapping and murdering Shasta’s mother, Brenda Groene, 40, as well as the woman’s son Slade, 13, and her boyfriend Mark McKenzie, 37, at their home outside Coeur d’Alene.

Idaho had charged Duncan with kidnapping Shasta and Dylan from the home, but the state dropped those counts in anticipation of the federal government charging him with kidnapping the two children and with killing Dylan.

Federal prosecutors have said they will file charges in the abduction of the children and Dylan’s death.

Authorities have also said Shasta and Dylan were sexually assaulted.

While it is The Associated Press’ policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault in most cases, the search for Shasta and her brother was so heavily publicized that their names are widely known.

History of violence

Duncan was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Tacoma, Wash., in 1980. The term was suspended and he was put into sex offender treatment at a state hospital, but 22 months later officials said the treatment wasn’t working. He was resentenced in 1982 and served 14 years.

At the time of his arrest, Duncan was a fugitive charged with molesting a 6-year-old boy in Minnesota.

Duncan reportedly has admitted committing his first act of sexual assault 30 years ago, preying on a 5-year-old boy when he was just 12.

Duncan’s records reveal a history of inflicting violence and sexual torture upon others, particularly young boys, with his crimes escalating in their seriousness. His past shows a series of failed treatments and refusal to comply with therapists and law enforcement officials who tried to correct his behavior, which mental health evaluators diagnosed in 1980 as consistent with an antisocial personality and a sexual deviant, the Seattle Times reported.

 
 

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. The confession was revealed in court papers filed by federal prosecutors supporting their effort to seek the death penalty in the Groene case.

According to the court papers, Duncan confessed to killing Carmen Cubias, nine, and Sammiejo White, 11, in Washington state in 1996 and Anthony Martinez, 10, in California in 1997.

Cubias and White were kidnapped from the Crest Motel in Seattle in July 1996. The remains of the two girls were found 17 months later in Bothell, Washington near Seattle.

In April 1997, friends saw Martinez forced into a vehicle in Beaumont, California. A forest ranger found his body, nude and bound, 16 days later in the woods about 70 east of Beaumont.

"The defendant has engaged in a continuing pattern of violence, attempted violence and threatened violence," the court papers said. "He is likely to commit criminal acts of violence in the future that would constitute a continuing and serious threat to the lives and safety of others."

Duncan pleaded guilty in state court to the murders of Brenda Groene; her fiance, Mark McKenzie, and her 13-year-old son Slade, all of whom he killed so that he could kidnap the younger children.

He faces federal charges of kidnapping Dylan, nine, and Shasta, who was eight at the time. Duncan held the children at a remote Montana campsite of weeks before he killed Dylan.

 
 

Timeline of events

1980: Joseph Edward Duncan III, 16, is arrested at his Tacoma home for the rape of a 14-year-old boy. A judge gives him 20 years but suspends that sentence so Duncan can get sex-offender treatment at Western State Hospital.

1982: Duncan fails at the treatment program and is sent to prison.

1994: Duncan is paroled. He lives in the Seattle area. He also travels widely throughout the United States.

1996: On the night of July 6, sisters Carmen Cubias, 9, and Sammiejo White, 11, leave Room 16 of the Crest Motel in North Seattle, bound for a Taco Time. The girls, who were living at the motel with their mother and siblings, disappear.

1997: In April, a 10-year-old California boy, Anthony Michael Martinez, is abducted and killed. His body is found 15 days later. In December, Washington state officials revoke Duncan's parole, saying he is dangerous.

2000: Duncan has served his sentence and is released from prison near Spokane. He eventually moves to Fargo, N.D., enrolling in college.

2004: Authorities arrest Duncan on suspicion of molesting two young boys in July. A judge releases him on bond.

2005: In a rented car, Duncan leaves North Dakota. On May 16, Brenda Groene, her 13-year-old son, Slade, and her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, are beaten to death with a hammer in a home east of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Groene's 9-year-old son, Dylan, and 8-year-old daughter, Shasta, are missing. Shasta is found with Duncan on July 2, eating breakfast at a Denny's in Coeur d'Alene. A few days later, Dylan's body is found in Montana. Duncan is charged with the three deaths in the home and likely faces federal charges in Dylan's death and the children's kidnappings. Police in Riverside, Calif., say a fingerprint ties Duncan to Anthony Martinez's death. And now a federal criminal justice source says Duncan has acknowledged kidnapping and killing Carmen Cubias and Sammiejo White.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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