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Judge upholds 2 death sentences for Joseph Edward Duncan III

A federal judge has upheld two of three death penalties for a man convicted in a gruesome child kidnapping and murder case and put a third death sentence on hold for now.

Joseph Edward Duncan III was sentenced to death after an incredibly violent crime spree in which he broke into a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho home and killed three people there before abducting an 8- and 9-year-old. He then took the kids deep into Montana’s Lolo National Forest, where he tortured and raped them for weeks. He eventually killed the older child.

In Friday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge said Duncan had effective attorneys, that the evidence shown at trial wasn’t unfairly prejudicial and that two of the three death sentences were appropriate. But Lodge said he’d wait to make a ruling on a third death sentence until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a separate but similar case.

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