Jury sentences Duncan to death - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Jury sentences Duncan to death

BOISE, Idaho - A federal jury sentenced confessed child killer Joseph Edward Duncan III to death Wednesday. The jury deliberated for only three hours before reaching the unanimous verdict.

Duncan entered the courtroom with what appeared to be a smile on his face. As often seen throughout the sentencing hearing, he sat with his eyes closed, or looking directly at the jury with his hands folded in front of his face, at times appearing uninterested in what was happening.

When it was time to read the verdict, the judge asked Duncan to stand and said, "The court sees that Joseph Duncan should by, and in accordance with the law, be sentenced to death on counts one, five, and seven."

Previous Coverage

- Jury says Duncan eligible for death penalty
-TRANSCRIPT: Duncan makes closing arguments against death penalty
- Prosecution & defense rest in Duncan case; closing arguments set to begin
Jurors shown Duncan's torture videotape
-Expert says Duncan's shotgun wouldn't accidentally fire
- Jury hears disturbing letter from Duncan to his mother
- Duncan Sentencing: Police interview with Shasta played in court

Closing arguments in the death penalty hearing ended just hours earlier the same day.

The government offered a closing argument that lasted 50 minutes.

Traci Whelan told the jury, "It is time once again to ask you for a decision. The U.S. urges you to sentence this defendant to death. He should forfeit his life, his future, as he denied Dylan. Death is not sought lightly, but it is appropriate in this case."

During the victim impact portion of the proceedings, the government showed a brief video of Shasta crying while telling a Coeur d'Alene police officer, "He shot Dylan... and we burned his body."

The government told the jury Duncan has exhibited a pattern of violence that will live on inside prison walls. They described his criminal history starting in 1980 with a rape in Washington State, and ending 25 years later in Coeur d' Alene.

They described Duncan's admissions to the Washington murders of Carmen Cubias and SammiJo White, as well as the 1997 murder of Anthony Martinez in Southern California.

Whelan told the jury, pointing at Duncan, "Such a man as this man, poses a threat to the prison system."

She added that Duncan never presented any mitigating evidence, explaining that opening and closing statements don't count.

One of the alternate jurors was seen shaking her head and nodding when Whelan recommended the death penalty. Whelan concluded by saying, "The scales of justice, weigh heavily on the side of death."

Duncan offered no closing argument.

Previous Coverage

- Groene shares letters from children; Duncan questions FBI agent
- Jury selected; opening statements made in Duncan murder sentencing
- Judge closes court during Duncan victim testimony
- Duncan's standby counsel want no part in jury selection
- Court rules Duncan mentally competent

Duncan faced the death penalty on three of 10 federal charges related to the kidnapping and murder of Dylan Groene.

He pleaded guilty to all 10 counts in December, and last week the jury
unanimously decided
that Duncan was eligible for the death penalty on three.

The three counts that qualified him for the death penalty are kidnapping resulting in the death of a child, sexual exploitation of a child resulting in death and using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence resulting in death.

He will be sentenced for the remaining counts on October 15th.

Duncan was released to the U.S. Marshals Office and may now be brought to Riverside County, California, to face a murder charge there for the 1997 slaying of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez.

Duncan has until the beginning of October to decide if he wants to appeal the jury's decision.