Convicted killer’s former attorney testifies

Judge rules Duncan was competent to waive appeal

A prominent capital defense attorney who represented convicted killer Joseph Edward Duncan III during his death penalty hearing five years ago says Duncan’s bizarre beliefs infected their case.

Judy Clarke was in Boise’s U.S. District Court Tuesday to testify in Duncan’s competency hearing. Duncan was sentenced to death in 2008 after admitting he kidnapped and tortured two northern Idaho children before killing one of them in Montana.

A federal appellate court ordered the retrospective competency hearing to determine if Duncan was mentally competent when he gave up his right to appeal.

Clarke said Duncan didn’t want to participate in his own defense because he believed he’d had an epiphany and that he could lead others to enlightenment by refusing to participate in the legal case.