Duncan Sentencing: Police interview with Shasta played in court

BOISE, Idaho - During the sentencing for convicted killer Joseph Duncan Thursday, the goverment played a tape Coeur d'Alene police officer Shane Avriett recorded in his patrol car the night Shasta Groene was finally found after being kidnapped seven weeks earlier.

Witnesses, including Steve Groene, began taking the stand Thursday. Other witnesses included two Kootenai County detectives, an Idaho State Police detective and an FBI agent.

Duncan, who's acting as his own attorney, refused to cross-examine four of the first five witnesses.

Using an electronic larynx because of his cancer, Steve Groene was the second witness to take the stand.

Groene testified that he gave police his children's toothbrushes so they could get DNA samples. He also shared letters that Dylan and Shasta wrote him while being held by Duncan.

The letters included passages like the following from a letter from Dylan to her father: "This is dylan, we are still alive we are okay," and this one from a letter written to her father by Shasta, "Dear Dad, I have good news we are coming home soon."

It was another emotional and shocking moment, when the court played the recording, taped just moments after Shasta was found by authorities in Coeur d'Alene, at a Dennys restaurant on July 2nd, 2005.

The following is a transcript of the recording:

Officer: Where's your brother?

Shasta: He's in heaven.

Officer: I know Slade, you have another brother. He's in heaven?

Shasta: Yes. There may be evidence in the Lolo National Forest, that's where we were.

Officer: How did you end up here?

Shasta: He was going to take me home.

Officer: Why did he change his mind?

Shasta: He said he was gonna change his mind because I taught him how to love.

Officer: What's his name?

Shasta: Jet Duncan. He killed a lot more people than we know about.

Officer: I'm sure he has sweetie.

Shasta: He killed Dylan. Theres a gun in the back of that red Jeep. It shot off and it hit my brother.

Officer: Wheres Dylan now?

Shasta: He's dead (crying). He pulled out the gun and shot him in the head and then he burned his body.

[End tape]

As the proceeding continue jurors will decide whether Duncan should spend life in prison without parole, or get the death penalty.

Duncan pleaded guilty to 10 federal counts in December, to kidnapping Shasta Groene and her brother Dylan from their Coeur d'Alene home in 2005, and the torture and slaying of Dylan at a Montana campsite.

Also on KHQ.com

- 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

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