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Duncan Decides On Lawyer Versus Representing Himself

An already condemned child killer who is currently representing himself against charges stemming from the kidnap-murder of a Beaumont boy now says he wants a lawyer, a public defender confirmed today.

Joseph Edward Duncan III, 47, faces first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the April 1997 abduction and slaying of Anthony Martinez.

Duncan, who has already been sentenced to death for the slaying of a boy in Idaho, could receive another death sentence if convicted in the Riverside County case.

“He’s asked to have counsel appointed,” said Deputy Public Defender Richard Verlato, who was part of a defense team that previously represented Duncan, who began acting as his own attorney in September 2009.

Verlato said the public defender’s Capital Defense Team in Riverside will take the case.

“Of course it is all up to Mr. Duncan. He has to say the words, `I want an attorney,” and the court, I think, would appoint an attorney for him,” Verlato said, adding that he could not discuss the reason Duncan changed his mind.

Duncan is due in court Oct. 4 for a hearing on the matter.

Last month, Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Downing told Duncan he would have a year to prepare for trial.

The judge recently allocated funds for Duncan to have access to a personal laptop to help prepare his defense.

Duncan has indicated he does not deny the allegations against him, but cannot plead guilty because of a California law that stipulates a defendant must be represented by an attorney and have that lawyer’s consent to enter a guilty plea in a potential death penalty case.

KESQ News Team

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