Joseph Duncan awaiting competency hearing in Ada Co. jail

Joseph Duncan awaiting competency hearing in Ada Co. jail

Credit: Stan Lim/The Press-Enterprise

Oct. 4, 2010

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

BOISE -- The Ada County Sheriff's Office says Joseph Duncan has been in the Ada County Jail on a federal hold since just after noon Thursday awaiting a competency hearing at the federal courthouse.

In 2011, an appeals court ruling called into question Joseph Duncan's death sentence.

He received the death penalty in 2008 for crimes related to the 2005 murder and kidnapping of nine year old Dylan Groene from Coeur d' Alene.

Duncan also killed three other people from Groene's home and kidnapped his sister, who survived.

The court said there was "reasonable doubt" Duncan was competent when he chose to represent himself during the penalty hearing and then waive his right to appeal.

The US Supreme Court has decided not to weigh in so the appeals court has sent the case back to US district court.

Now, Federal Prosecutor Wendy Olson says that means the issue comes back to district court with Judge Edward Lodge.

She explained there will be what's called a retrospective competency hearing where evidence and possibly experts will be presented to find out if Duncan was competent to waive his appeals.

If the judge decides he was incompetent to waive appeals, he will then consider whether he was competent in deciding to represent himself.

If the judge decides Duncan was also incompetent then, a new jury would be called to resentence Duncan.

The victim's father Steve Groene spoke with KTVB on the phone last year. He said even with the issue coming back, "We're pretty sure this won't change the outcome."

Groene said to him it's prolonging the inevitable and "[Once it's over], we'll start pressuring the federal court to set a death date and get this done."

When asked if the new hearing is tough to deal with, Groene said, "Yes, but we understood from day one this was going to be a long process."

Duncan is scheduled to be in court Tuesday morning.

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