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Judge Says Duncan Was Mentally Fit During Sentencing

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a man convicted of murder and kidnapping two northern Idaho children in 2005 was mentally fit when he waived the right to appeal his death sentence.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge issued the ruling Friday in the case of Joseph Edward Duncan III. Duncan was convicted of killing several members of a Coeur d’Alene family in 2005 so he could kidnap the family’s two youngest children. He tortured both kids in Montana for weeks before killing one of them and convicted and sentenced to death in 2008 for those crimes.

During sentencing, Duncan opted to represent himself, and afterward waived his appeal rights. He later changed his mind and an appeals court ordered Lodge to determine if Duncan was competent to make that decision.

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