Joseph Duncan Changed His Plea in Federal Court to Guilty MondayPosted: Updated:
BOISE, Idaho - Joseph Duncan has changed his plea in federal court, admitting to murder and kidnapping. Duncan admits to kidnapping Shasta Groene and killing her brother, Dylan in 2005.
As the hearing began in Ada County, Duncan, now with long hair, stood up and asked the judge if he could make a statement. The judge obliged, giving Duncan the opportunity to speak - something Duncan has rarely done before today. Despite making a statement however, he showed little to no emtion, staring blankly at the floor as the charges were read once again from the bench.
The confessed killer said that he has never NOT pleaded 'not guilty' before, saying the judge entered a 'not guilty' plea for him. Duncan said he has never attempted to deny any wrong-doing, and said today that he accepts full responsibility for his actions, "even to death if necessary".
Three of the ten counts leveled against Duncan by the federal government carry the death penalty. A jury will be convened to determine whether he is eligible to die at the hands of the state. The penalty phase of the case is scheduled to begin January 28 in Boise.
The judge in the case has imposed a gag order preventing attorneys from speaking with reporters.
Duncan was charged with kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death and sexual abuse of a minor and other related charges. Prosecutors say he abducted the Dylan and Shasta Groene from their Coeur d'Alene home then later killed Dylan at a remote campsite in Montana.
Duncan has already pleaded guilty in Idaho state court to killing other members of the Groene family in May 2005. The children's mother, Brenda Groene, her fiance Mark McKenzie and her 13-year-old son Slade Groene were bound and bludgeoned to death with a hammer.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)