Prosecution, Defense Rest At Duncan Sentencing
BOISE — Following an emotional day of testimony capped off with father Steve Groene taking the stand to talk about his son Dylan, prosecutors and the defense have rested their cases in the Duncan sentencing trial in Boise.
Prosecutors called a battery of witnesses from Dylan Groene’s teachers to his aunt and grandmother, all leading up to the last witness of the day, his dad Steve.
One juror clutched a tissue close to her face as Dylan’s aunt and grandma described how much they will miss the precious boy they called their little teddy bear.
Dylan’s aunt Brandy Hoagland says his death has been very traumatic, leaving a huge hole in her heart and an emptiness in her life. Several times throughout her testimony, she needed to take a moment to breath and it appeared to be visibly difficult for her to be on the witness stand.
Darlene Torres, Dylan’s grandma, talked about a picture taken of the 9-year-old on Christmas Day. When asked what life has been like since his death she told jurors, “Oh Lord, its hard to explain. The empty, loneliness, pain of how he died … hurt will last the rest of my life, it goes deep.”
Dylans’ father Steve Groene was the last to take the stand Tuesday, describing the day Dylan was born, saying he came out with a smirk on his face. He added that Dylan was his sister Shasta’s guardian angel and ended his testimony by saying he will never get to see either of his sons Slade or Dylan get married or attend their first day of high school.
When asked what he learned from Dylan Steve told jurors, “You have to cherish every moment with your children because you can wake up the next day, they won’t be there.”
For most of the day Joseph Duncan sat in his chair and said nothing. When prosecutors rested their case, Duncan offered no witnesses of his own and Judge Edward Lodge ordered a recess until 7 a.m. Pacific Time Wednesday.
At that time the prosecutors and the defense will present their closing arguments and then the jury instructions will be presented. Judge Lodge asked jurors to keep an open mind overnight, reminding them they have not be given the case and should wait to make a decision.
After that the jury will begin deliberating whether or not Duncan should receive the death penalty for the murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene, who was tortured and then shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun, his remains burned in a firepit at a remote camp site in the Lolo National Forest in western Montana.