Joseph Duncan had been convicted of raping and torturing a 14-year-old boy in Tacoma, Washington. On the Internet he proudly boasted of his perversions. But the system turned Duncan loose, and no one would stop him from committing an even more horrifying act.
This time he prepared meticulously. He chose his getaway car. He chose his murder weapon and loaded a video camera. Then, when he saw young Shasta and Dylan Groene playing outside their Idaho home, he struck - killing their mother and her boyfriend, and their older brother...and vanishing into the night with Shasta and Dylan.
Detectives pored over the bloody murder scene. The FBI scrambled to find the children and the abductor. And even when Duncan was finally located, the story was not yet over: Dylan was still missing...and the depth of one man's evil was still coming horribly to light.
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"Without forgiveness there is only insanity."
J.Scott Bennett assumes a gentle country accent to narrate the remarkable and very harrowing story of Joseph Edward Duncan III and his planned entry into a family home where he bludgeoned to death two adults and a teenage boy and abducted two young children, a boy and a girl, to physically and sexually abuse them. That this is, in fact, a true story which made headline news at the time, makes it all the more terrifying.
Duncan, by his own boasting admission, was already a serial rapist by his mid teens. Convicted at 16 of raping a boy at gunpoint, he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment but served only 14 before being released to continue to rape and kill, and eventually move to Idaho where this particular criminal attack took place. The hunt for the missing children was bungled from the beginning and only Duncan's apparent disregard for being spotted enabled his capture. The account of the investigation, the people involved, of Duncan himself and his very strange outlook on life (he even kept a regular web blog), the legal implications and the after arrest circumstances, are all documented in a non dramatic, newsworthy way, telling the facts without dwelling on the gore. This in no way negates the horror of it all, however. Throughout, J.Scott Bennet reads clearly, impeccably and with understanding, enhancing the text with his beautifully modulated voice, always staying true to the text by not over dramatising. An outstanding performance.
The story is not finished, cannot be whilst Duncan and one survivor continue to live, and whilst legal debates over what to do with inveterate disregarders of acceptable behaviour continue. The man was certainly different. But was he mad? This book is a must for all true crime officianados. It doesn't titillate but is shocking and it makes the listener think. Highly recommended.
- Norma Miles