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Death row inmate faces IE murder trial

January 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It's been more than a decade since the kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez. Friday, the man accused in the case returned to Riverside County to face trial. The suspect was flown to Bermuda Dunes Airport Friday afternoon.Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted of four murders in Idaho and has already been sentenced to life in prison and has received the death penalty. Duncan will be tried for the 1997 murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez.

Duncan got off the plane at Bermuda Dunes Airport and will be held in Indio. His arraignment is set for early next week.

Duncan is accused of kidnapping the boy at knifepoint in Beaumont. Martinez's body was found three weeks later, nude and bound by duct tape, in the desert north of Indio. For eight years, investigators had no idea who murdered the boy.

Around the same time, Duncan was charged with kidnapping two children in Idaho and molesting both of them, and killing one of them. He also allegedly killed three of their family members before kidnapping the kids. The case received national attention, and Riverside County Homicide detectives took note. On a hunch, they took a fingerprint from the duct tape that had bound Martinez and matched it to Duncan. Duncan was sentenced to death for the Idaho killings.

"We know about his convictions in Idaho, but Anthony Martinez's voice stays with us," said Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco. "He will not be forgotten because Duncan has some other conviction in some other state. He will be held accountable in Riverside County. There will be justice for Anthony Martinez in Riverside County, and we will seek the maximum penalty for these horrific acts perpetrated on an innocent 10-year-old boy."

"Our desire is now what it's always been, was to never let him ever see the light of day again," said Diana Gonzales, Anthony's mother. "We had always wished that we would catch him before something happened to someone else's family, and sadly that wasn't the case. All we ever really wanted was to make sure that he never was out again, he was never free again, was never able to do anything to anyone's family ever again. And that's what's happening right now, so hopefully that will bring my family some closure."

Family members and detectives say they've waited more than a decade for this moment. Even though Duncan has already been sentenced to death in Idaho, investigators say they will also seek the death penalty.


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