Joseph Edward Duncan III, 45, was sentenced to death by a jury in Boise, Idaho for the 2005 kidnapping, torture and murder of a 9-year-old boy, Dylan Groene.
"We're happy with the verdict, but it's a shame — this should have been limited to one death," said Steven Groene, the father of the children. "He should have had the courage and the guts to kill himself before killing anyone else."
In his closing arguments the prosecutor reminded the jury of the many crimes committed by Duncan and summed up by saying:
"This defendant is dangerous. He is a predator who takes pride in his work," prosecutor Traci Whelan said. "He earned this day. His actions ... call out for the death penalty."
The heinousness of the evidence in Dylan's murder made it particularly difficult for the jurors to remain impartial as they deliberate, said Art Patterson, a jury consultant and senior vice president of the trial consulting firm DecisionQuest.
"Generally, for human beings, it's pretty hard to maintain impartiality when confronted with such horror," Patterson said.
"How could any juror not want to see this person removed from our list of living human beings? How could you live with yourself as a juror if there's any chance this human being could escape from jail and do something like this again?" Patterson said.
After 3 hours of deliberation, the jury agreed with the prosecutor and returned a unanimous verdict of death.
"The jury speaks the mind of the community," U.S. Attorney Tom Moss said. "By the verdict today, they have given voice to the victims."
Joseph Duncan had a long history as a violent sexual predator. He had spent time in prison for the gunpoint rape of a young boy in the 1980's. He gained national notoriety, and spot on the FBI's most wanted list, for his involvement in the kidnappings and murders that eventually lead to his death sentence. He was also featured on the TV program America's Most Wanted.
Duncan kidnapped Dylan Groene and his sister Shasta from their home, after brutally murdering their mother Brenda Groene, her boyfriend Mark McKenzie and their older brother Slade Groene. He had tied them up and mercilessly bludgeoned all three of them to death with a hammer. He took the two children and for the next 6 weeks repeatedly raped and sexually molested both of them in various campgrounds before shooting Dylan in the head and burning his body in front of his sister. Duncan was so perverted that he made a videotape.
At his trial jurors viewed horrifying video Duncan made of him sexually abusing, torturing and hanging Dylan until the boy lost consciousness.
Duncan was arrested and Shasta rescued weeks after the kidnappings when a waitress at a Denny's in Coeur d'Alene called police after recognizing the two as they ate. He pleaded guilty in December to 10 federal charges involving the kidnappings and the murder of Dylan. He pleaded guilty to the other three murders in state court, where he also could be sentenced to death.
With multiple murder convictions and a death sentence hanging over his head, the law is not yet finished with Joseph Edward Duncan III. Prosecutors in Riverside County, California say they know of Duncan's murderous past. Duncan is charged in the 1997 murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez, and they are still waiting to put Duncan on trial.
Duncan is suspected of abducting Martinez at knife-point from his front yard. Fifteen days later, Martinez was found dead. At the time of Martinez's murder, Duncan was wanted for violating his parole in Washington, as he failed a drug test and fled the state. Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco said he's glad juries in Idaho are holding Duncan accountable, but now it's time for him to face justice in California. Despite the potential cost of a death penalty case, Pacheco says the Martinez family deserves to see Duncan tried.
"It's not something where you go, well, you can wait a couple years. We can't wait," Pacheco says. "We need him today. I understand Idaho needs to finish their stuff, but we need him as soon as possible. I can't wait."
For complete coverage of the Joseph Duncan case see KXLY.COM and also True Crime Report.Com.