Defense Wants Duncan Found Incompetent

BOISE, Id. — The defense team of convicted child killer Joseph Edward Duncan III wants him found incompetent, the attorneys revealed during a court proceeding Thursday.

Duncan, who faces the death penalty on three of 10 federal charges connected to the 2005 abduction of two northern Idaho siblings and the murder of one of them, asked U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge earlier this year to allow him to represent himself during the death row hearing.

Since that request, many of the court proceedings and documents filed in the case have been sealed. But in an open status conference Thursday, the judge said he’d received Duncan’s psychological evaluations and would make them available to attorneys on both sides in the next few days.

Federal prosecutors contend Duncan is competent and should be allowed to represent himself. Duncan’s own attorneys say he’s not competent. They hope to continue representing him in the case.

The Spokesman Review Duncan blog is reporting that U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge said he’s taken under advisement a request for a competency hearing, at which the experts who examined Duncan could be cross-examined. “The court intends to rule on that … forthwith,” he declared.