At last they got it right. Joseph Edward Duncan, kidnapper, child molester, mass murderer, plead guilty this morning. For weeks, the majority of our area's citizens, family members of the victims, and County Commissioners have begged the prosecutor to plea bargain this case for the sake of 9 year old Shasta Groene not having to face her molester in court.
Based on the previously leaked agreement that was rejected, and the announced provisions today, it would appear that the defense caved on an important issue. That being following the federal trial upcoming, the right of Kootenai County to re-impose the death penalty is retained. As it is now, three consecutive life terms without possibility of parole were handed down.
Bayviews applauds the attorneys involved for doing the right thing, even if belatedly. While some surviving relatives still wanted the death penalty, Shasta Groene was the only one that personally had to go through the entire experience, and her interests should be paramount.
It now appears that if the federal trial does not convict, or doesn't opt for the death penalty, the County will. Kudos also, for the great coverage by Tayrn Brodwater of the Spokesman-Review, who should be considered for a Pulitzer prize...
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