Competency hearing for Joseph Duncan gets underway in Boise

Credit: Paul Boehlke/KTVB

Competency hearing for Joseph Duncan gets underway in Boise

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 1:10 PM

BOISE -- Convicted child killer Joseph Duncan is back in Boise for a competency hearing.

Duncan received a death sentence after he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and torturing a north Idaho brother and sister, and killing the brother.

This competency hearing is something that doesn't have to do with the crimes Joseph Duncan committed, but whether the serial killer was competent to give up on fighting his death sentence.

No cameras are allowed inside federal court, but sketches from our photographer Paul Boehlke give you an idea of the scene inside.

This competency hearing is formatted similarly to a trial -- with opening statements and witnesses -- though a judge, not a jury will decide on whether Duncan really had the capacity to make his own legal decisions.

Prosecutors say Duncan has proven his competence by the way he represented himself in court, and say multiple doctors will say the same.

Today, prosecutors called an FBI special agent who's interviewed Duncan several times since he pleaded guilty.

We heard some of those interviews, many of which focused on what motivated Duncan to commit crimes -- to get revenge on the justice system and society.

Here's part of what Duncan told the agent:

"That's one thing I want to emphasize… to me it's more important that you guys realize that I was determined to hurt you, to hurt society… I didn't care about the sex. I didn't care about the violence. I didn't like what I was doing , but hurting you was worth it," said Duncan.

Duncan's attorneys say their experts will later testify that Duncan suffers from a brain impairment, psychotic disorders and post traumatic stress disorder -- all of which they say prevented him from understanding what he was doing in court.

This hearing is expected to last several weeks.

If the judge finds Duncan was not competent when he gave up appeals, there will be another hearing to decide if he was competent to represent himself during his sentencing.

With that, it is possible Duncan could get a new sentencing hearing.

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