August 15th, 2008
12:16 PM ET

Abducted girl describes brother's murder

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/15/art.abduct.jpg]
After her older brother was shot in the head, his remains were burned in front of her, an 8-year-old girl told a police officer in a gut-wrenching tape played for jurors deciding whether a convicted sex offender should die for his crimes.

Joseph Edward Duncan III stalked the Groene family and killed four of its five members.
Shasta Groene spoke to Coeur d'Alene police Officer Shane Avriett on July 2, 2005, shortly after she was rescued from weeks of torture and despair.

Avriett testified Thursday that he turned on his vehicle's dashboard-mounted video camera, with the camera pointed away from Shasta, and recorded her talking about her ordeal.
When Avriett asked where her 9-year-old brother Dylan was, she told him, "in heaven ... there may be some evidence down in the Lolo forest, because that's where we were."

She cried as she told Avriett how Joseph Edward Duncan III shot her brother in the stomach at a campsite, then shot him again in the head and burned the body.
"He's killed way a lot more people that you don't even know about," Shasta told the officer. "He killed Dylan."

The testimony came on the second day of the sentencing hearing for Duncan, 45, who faces either life in prison or death. The convicted pedophile from Tacoma, Washington, pleaded guilty in December to 10 federal charges related to the kidnapping of Shasta and Dylan. Three of the counts carry a potential death penalty.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. joanna

    The death penalty is too good for him. After a few minutes his suffering is over. He should be forced to endure more than that. Too bad that would amount to the torture he inflicted on others.

    August 17, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    He's a monster and I hope the prisoners gives him some insight on what a monster deserves, then fry him.

    August 17, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  3. mag

    That is horrible.

    August 17, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  4. Tori

    If ever you questioned whether TRUE EVIL exists, here is the proof!

    August 17, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  5. debra

    He should go to prison, placed in general population. He does not deserve any special protective status. Not only has killed a family he has seriously harmed that little girl emotionally for the rest of her life.
    If he doesnt make it in prison oh well.

    August 16, 2008 at 8:01 pm |
  6. Michael

    The sad truth is this will not be 'news' tomorrow. Nothing is going to
    change until we hold the Judges who let this happen in contempt.
    They too must face the voters someday. Even Rome fell.

    August 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  7. Michael

    The sad truth is this will be forgotten in a day. Nothing will change.
    Until Rome finally falls.

    August 16, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  8. Rose from Southern Calif

    This monster of a male thing should be put to death like any other monster who kills an innocent child. Shasta who saw her brother killed in front of her, will need alot of counseling and love from her surrounding families. Even death is not good enough for Mr. Duncan. I believe that the devil will be waiting for him in HELL!

    August 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  9. Jake

    For those who think the death penalty is inapporpriate, here is but one reason why you are wrong. Many people earn the death penalty. And, in some cases, it should be carried out less than humanely. In this case, being burned at the stake and then shot in the head may send the right message. You don't mess with kids.

    August 16, 2008 at 2:05 am |
  10. Alexia

    I think men like Duncan shouldn't have second chances or serve only a year or couple of months for their crimes. They destroy lives with their actions.

    August 15, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  11. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Death Sentence..............

    August 15, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    What a terrible experience for a young child to go through – I hope she is doing well now but I'm sure the trial has been an ordeal for her having to relive. My thoughts and prayers are with her.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 15, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  13. Tim

    Some of these comments make me just as sick as the story. I agree he should be locked up for life or put to death but as gut wrenching and incredibly sad as this story is, and as big of a monster as this man was, don't bring yourself down to his level by wishing you could torture him. I'd be willing to bet that if any one of the commentators wishing that they could torture him themselves were put in a room with him and given the opportunity they would be unable to do it.

    He's the monster here not us. Don't wish for things like the ability to torture someone, because you are now feeling the same desires he felt towards that family and that means he wins. He's the savage not us.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  14. Mary

    It is hard to believe that this man is human. Both life and death seem to good for him. He caused so much suffering he should have to endure some. My thoughts and prayers are with that little girl.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  15. Maritza

    This case and what this evil animal did to this innocent little boy and his sister is a perfect example of how fitting the death penalty is.


    August 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  16. Thomas

    The best way to punish this monster is to let him go to prison and let EVERYONE in there have a piece of his butt. I'm sure those guys know a thing or two about payback. And even then, I don't even think that's enough of punishment for him.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  17. Rick

    When the the bleeding hearts arrive at this guy's exection asking for a stay, they should be required to view all the evidence, and afterwards have thier children sent to play with this guy in his cell. Its not only this guy that's to blame, it's the people that put him back on the street.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  18. Shoshann

    Please kill him FAST! This story is so disturbing, I can barely even read it. I would kill him myself if I got the chance – and it would be slow. That poor little girl is destroyed forever. That man is not a human, he is an unevolved thing that should have never have even been conceived. Why do we coddle these creatures – he is beyond description!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  19. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I just read Duncan is blaming society for his evils...he needs to be beaten and tortured!

    August 15, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  20. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Reading the details of her brother's rape, torture and death yesterday was difficult. I cannot imagine what fears Shasta was in thoughout this ordeal and the pain she's in now. This POS should rot in jail and suffer the wrath of the other inmates until the day he dies. The death penalty is too easy in this case as much as I am for it.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  21. Marie

    This story makes me wish that we could outsource more executions to places like Saudi Arabia.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  22. Heather,CA,US

    The death penalty was created for monsters like him who have no regard for human life. Although,maybe the electric chair or death by hanging would be better. Our children are gifts.They are to be protected and loved.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  23. NRM

    May God bless this child and her family rest in peace.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  24. GHALIB

    This is really sucks, how can a pedophile can roam freely for so many years. Because our judicial system is handicapped. Just change the law that if anyone proved beyond resonable doubt that the person is pedophile, then the person should be executed. After that We won't see these kind of news often.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  25. Caren in Los Angeles/soon-to-be Boston

    I read this article yesterday and I really felt sick for the rest of the day. Duncan's eerie smiling face, the sweet picture of Dylan. These are the kinds of stories that make you realize the strength of humankind and all that we are capable of handling. Shasta not only lived to tell her story and that of her family's, but she has survived since, even though she lost almost everything because of this man. He doesn't really even deserve the title of "man". We think we could never survive something like this, but I guess we don't know how strong we are until we're forced into a situation like this.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  26. Dee, New York

    I agree with Shasta on the present whereabouts of her brother. I won't even comment on what I think should be done with the monster who harmed the children. I will leave that to his jurors and God. I only hope that little Shasta can be get proper counseling so that she can get beyond these horrors and go on to live some sort of normal life.

    August 15, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  27. Julie San Diego, CA

    The man isn't human, he's a monster. If a dangerous animal who had killed several people and who could never be domesticated was loose in your community, animal control wouldn't take it back to the shelter and keep it there for the rest of its life. They would put it down.

    Joseph Edward Duncan III lost status as "member of the human race" as a result of his heinous actions. He's a monster that's beyond redemption. I don't see why there is even any debate at this point as to what to do with him.

    August 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  28. Cindy

    This was a horrible story. What that poor girl had to endure by seeing all of her family killed, then her brother and then being raped was so sick and sad. I hope that Duncan gets the death penalty and it is carried out as soon as possible! The sooner the better to rid the world of trash like him.


    August 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm |