Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joseph Edward Duncan III

Sentencing Hearing

At Duncan's sentencing hearing for the Anthony Martinez murder on April 4, 2011, Zellerbach said that he wouldn't have considered a deal with Duncan if Duncan had not already been sentenced to death in federal court.

"As a prosecutor, I handled 50 murder cases and 35 death penalty cases," Zellerbach said. "I presided as a judge over seven death cases and sentenced five people to death. I've sentenced some of the worst of the worst child killers, and Mr. Duncan ranks right up there in the top three."

Diana Reed speaks on Duncan sentencing
Diana Reed speaks on Duncan sentencing

Anthony's mother, Diana Reed, spoke at the hearing and said that she gave birth to Anthony when she was 16, and that she did not want Duncan to know the extent of the pain his actions had caused her and her family.

"I was not going to allow him to steal that from me," Reed said. "I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life letting him know what he had done to us. I don't think he deserves to even know. He might have been able to take Tony physically — he never would be able to take away the love that we've had. He was like my buddy. He was always there. We kind of grew up together. I wanted so much for him. We're ready for a conclusion, ready for it to be done. It won't ever be closed, but it's over. And we can now, you know, mourn Tony's death the way we should have in the beginning. When we buried him, we didn't know who did it. And the Riverside County Sheriff and Beaumont Police, they never forgot and we'll be eternally grateful to all the departments involved."

Reed said that she pities Duncan, and that she views him as less than human.

"I find it incomprehensible someone who can be categorized as human, the same as I, could do the things he has done," she said, as reported by Fox News. "I don't consider him a person."

Duncan sat quietly throughout the proceeding, his eyes closed much of the time. When his eyes were open, he stared mostly straight ahead and would not look at Reed or Anthony's father, Ernesto Martinez, or at other family members and friends.

"He will endure for eternity pain and suffering that no humankind can comprehend," Martinez said of Duncan in an emotional statement to the court. "I'm angry that instead of attending my son's college graduation, I'm spending the day at the sentencing for Tony's murderer. As a father, I would love nothing more than to carry out Joseph Duncan's execution with my own two hands."


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