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Convicted murderer pleads guilty to killing 10-year-old Riverside County boy

March 15, 2011 |  1:45 pm

Striking a deal to spare his life, convicted killer Joseph Edward Duncan III entered a guilty plea Tuesday in a Riverside County Superior Court for the murder of a 10-year-old Beaumont boy.

Duncan, already convicted of killing an Idaho boy and members of his family, had faced the death penalty for the 1997 killing of Anthony Martinez, a 10-year-old abducted near his backyard.

In February, Duncan’s defense team went to Riverside County prosecutors, offering to have their client plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office.

“The district attorney agreed to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole,” Hall said, adding that Duncan is scheduled to be formally sentenced next month. “The agreement is in place, it’s just the formality of the sentencing that is going to happen in April.”

In 2008, a federal jury convicted Duncan of murdering 9-year-old Dylan Groene, his mother, Brenda Groene, her fiancé, and another of her sons in Idaho. Duncan was sentenced to death and also given nine life terms for those crimes.

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-- Kurt Streeter

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