Riverside Prosecutor Waits For His Chance At Duncan

SPOKANE — It took a jury less than two hours Friday to decide Joseph Duncan is eligible for the death penalty. Duncan showed no emotion as the verdict was read. But some in California were very interested in this phase of Duncan’s trial.

Prosecutors in Riverside County, California say they know of Duncan’s murderous past. Duncan is charged in the 1997 murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez, and they are still waiting to put Duncan on trial.

Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco said Friday he’s glad juries in Idaho are holding Duncan accountable, but now it’s time for him to face justice in California. Duncan is suspected of abducting Martinez at knifepoint from his front yard. Fifteen days later, Martinez was found dead. At the time of Martinez’s murder, Duncan was wanted for violating his parole in Washington, as he failed a drug test and fled the state.

It was a brutal crime that Pacheco says Riverside has never forgotten in the decade since it happened. Once Idaho is finished prosecuting Duncan, he will be sent to California. For Pacheco, not a moment too soon.

“It’s not something where you go, well, you can wait a couple years. we can’t wait,” Pacheco says. “We need him today. I understand Idaho needs to finish their stuff, but we need him as soon as possible. I can’t wait.”

Despite the potential cost of a death penalty case, Pacheco says the Martinez family deserves to see Duncan tried.