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Idaho killer tells mother he had evil in his heart
Duncan Slayings WAS 5876814
This Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2008 picture shows a letter from Shasta Groene to her father Steven Groene which was part of the evidence from the Joseph Edward Duncan III trial. Steven Groene, the father of two children murdered and another sexually assaulted by a convicted sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan III testified at the killer's federal death-penalty hearing Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008 choking up after confirming their handwriting on notes apparently written at their kidnapper's behest. - photo by Associated Press
    BOISE, Idaho — The man who admits kidnapping two northern Idaho children and killing one of them wrote a letter to his mother blaming society for feeding the evil in his heart, a prosecution witness testified Friday.
    ‘‘I have once again become a medium of violence in the world,’’ Joseph Edward Duncan III wrote. He said he had been ‘‘inflicted by an evil ’demon’ that is nurtured by our so-called Criminal Justice System.’’
    Duncan, a convicted pedophile from Tacoma, Wash., pleaded guilty in December to federal charges related to the kidnapping of young Shasta Groene and her brother Dylan in 2005. A federal jury is hearing testimony on whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
    The letter to Duncan’s mother was read to jurors Friday by Idaho State Police Detective Fred Swanson. Apparently never sent, it was found folded in Duncan’s coat pocket after his arrest.
    ‘‘I don’t know what God wants for me, I just don’t know,’’ Duncan wrote.
    The children were taken from their Coeur d’Alene home in May 2005 after Duncan fatally bludgeoned their mother, Brenda Groene, their 13-year-old brother, Slade, and the mother’s fiance, Mark McKenzie.
    Both children were sexually abused before Duncan shot and killed 9-year-old Dylan at a Montana campsite. Shasta, then 8, was rescued July 2, 2005, when a waitress spotted her and Duncan in a Coeur d’Alene restaurant.
    Duncan earlier pleaded guilty in state court to killing McKenzie and Slade and Brenda Groene. Sentencing on those charges is not at issue here.
    Duncan is also suspected in the 1996 slayings of two half sisters from Seattle and is charged with the 1997 killing of a boy in Riverside County, Calif.
    On Thursday, jurors heard a gut-wrenching tape made by 8-year-old Shasta after she was rescued.
    When Coeur d’Alene police Officer Shane Avriett asked where Dylan was, she told him, ‘‘in heaven ... there may be some evidence down in the Lolo forest, because that’s where we were.’’
    She cried as she told Avriett how Duncan shot her brother in the stomach at a campsite, then shot him again in the head and burned the body.

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