It's the death sentencing phase in the trial of murdering pedophile Joseph Duncan.(who btw, is representing himself) The details of the kidnapping of Shasta Groene and brother Dylan from their home, are not widely discussed. This is what I was able to find from a number of sources in Idaho today.
Testimony: Shooting of Dylan Groene was not an accident
During a videotaped interview shown to jurors yesterday, 8-year-old Shasta Groene told a detective Joseph Duncan unintentionally shot her 9-year-old brother as he was digging through a container in which the 12-gauge shotgun was being kept. "He was telling me it was an accident," said Shasta.
But an FBI firearms expert testified to the contrary today. After performing several "accidental discharge tests" on the murder weapon, John Webb concluded, "I could not make the gun fire without pulling the trigger."
Shasta witnessed the aftermath of that initial gunshot wound to her brother's abdomen and gave a very graphic description (describing abdominal evisceration"his guts were hanging out")– then said “we couldn't save him."
Today a forensic pediatrician disagreed. Based on her assessment of the information gathered from Shasta she described the wound as, "a very potentially salvageable injury," said Dr. Sharon Cooper. It was a second gunshot wound to the head which killed Dylan.
In a rare cross-examination, Duncan!! tried to get the doctor to say her theories about Dylan's injury were based on the exaggerations of a traumatized child, and that the description of his 'guts' were the ramen noodles the little boy had eaten earlier.
BOISE -- A piece of Dylan Groene's skull with some hair was shown to jurors Wednesday along with other bone fragments.
Duncan took the two children to the camp in the Lolo National Forest after he kidnapped them and killed their mother Brenda, older brother Slade, and Brenda's fiancee Mark McKenzie on May 16, 2005.
On the tape shown to jurors Tuesday, Groene, 8-years-old at the time, appeared composed while telling detectives about being raped by Duncan and forced to watch him torture, molest and kill her 9-year-old brother, Dylan.
At one point during the interview, Shasta tells how
Duncan took Dylan to an old shack, made him stand on a bench,
wrapped wire around his neck then kicked the bench out from under his legs until the boy nearly choked to death.Other sources state that Duncan repeately called the boy a coward during tortuing him.
FBI special agent Mike Sotka testified about going to the campsites and interviewing Duncan.
During the July 19th, 2005, interview in Coeur d'Alene, Duncan told Sotka he shared certain secrets with Shasta because "...you have to understand Shasta was dead. She was a dead girl and I knew it... It was a secret I wouldn't whisper to myself."
Special Agent Truebenbach told the court a log was found at the entrance to one of the campsites that read, "Please do not disturb. Thanks." Another inscription read, "Dead end 300ft Occupied May 05-June, please do not disturb."
He also described sifting through a fire pit in which possible human remains were found. Also found at the scene were running shoes, rope, a levis clothing tag, an opened condom, hatchet, and expended shotgun shells.
It was an emotional day in court as Steve Groene took the stand. Using an electronic voice box to discuss the loss of three of his family members -- Dylan, 13-year-old Slade, and ex-wife Brenda.
During his testimony, the jury was shown a series of letters Joseph Duncan had Dylan and Shasta Groene write to their father.
In those letters, they tell their dad they're still alive, how they feel about the deaths of their brother and mother, and that they are looking forward to "maybe coming home".
The court was also shown pieces of evidence involving the murders of Brenda and Slade, as well as McKenzie -- zip ties and duct tape used to bind the three people in Coeur d' Alene. They also learned how Duncan's used gloves, a mask, a knit cap, even oversized shoes to insure he'd never get caught.
But despite his attempts at remaining anonymous, Duncan left behind a cornucopia of evidence. Things like video and pictures of him molesting Dylan. A GPS that showed everywhere he'd been, and places he wanted to return to -- places like other residences and even daycare facilities. There was even a spreadsheet he created which lists the pros and cons of committing the heinous crimes.
One thing that now lingers in the minds of spectators, perhaps more than anything else so far, was a voice recording of young Shasta after she was recovered at a Denny's in Coeur d' Alene -- a police dash-cam recording of her discussing the crimes she'd witnessed.
And when police officer Shane Avriett asks her about Dylan, in a tearful voice, she simply replies he's in heaven.
In the police dash-cam recording of Shasta, Avriett also asked why Duncan didn't kill her, too.
She says Duncan told her that he decided to take her home instead because she taught him how to love.
In great detail Shasta described everything that happened, showing why her testimony was so pivotal to the prosecution's case. In one taped interview conducted at Kootenai Medical Center just hours after she was found, Shasta, wrapped in a blanket and holding a teddy bear appears tired and restless, often resting her head on the side of the chair.
Shasta tells Captain Dan Mattos when Duncan - who she calls "Jet" - kidnapped her and Dylan he told the children "there are rules and he wanted us to call him daddy."
In the interview Shasta tells Capt. Mattos that Duncan cried when Dylan was killed and then she helped Duncan dispose of her little brother's body.
Shasta and Duncan spent a few weeks at that camp and then moved to another site because Duncan felt there was too much evil in the first site.
At that second site Shasta says Duncan took her into St. Regis on two separate occasions to eat; she named Frosty's as one of the restaurants they ate at. When Duncan went into town without her Shasta says she was chained to a tent.
In the interview Shasta says Duncan told her he felt bad for killing her family members, adding he was sorry and it was wrong. It appears Duncan also told Shasta in detail how he attacked her family and why he chose to kidnap her and her brother.
Shasta says "he thought God was telling him to do it" and that "he was out looking for children to kidnap."
When Shasta was found in Coeur d'Alene seven weeks after she was abducted in 2005 she says Duncan told her good luck. At one point during those seven weeks Duncan had told her that her life was more important than his.
reporters blog with extensive case details