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BOISE -- Prosecutors in the Joseph Duncan sentencing case released five letters written by Dylan and Shasta Groene during the time they were held captive.
Four of the letters were addressed to their father, Steve Groene. The other was written by Dylan and addressed to Shasta.
One letter from Shasta read (in part) "I miss you very much. We know what happened to mom, Mark and Slade. We both feel very sorry for them.... and we might see you guys again."
Another letter from Shasta to her dad read, "I have very good news and it is we are coming home soon! It might be a week or 2 so we will be back."
Steve Groene took the stand and told jurors he never received these letters. They were collected as evidence from Duncan's belongings in the stolen Jeep he was driving.
Groene maintained his composure during his brief testimony, but audibly sobbed later in the hearing as the duct tape and zip ties that bound his ex-wife, her boyfriend and Groene's 13-year old son Slade were entered as exhibits. The three were bound then bludgeoned to death with a framing hammer.
Detective Brad Maskell's Testimony
Det. Brad Maskell of the Kootenai County Major Crimes Unit testified late Thursday morning.
Maskell said he found Duncan to be "polite, cooperative, very articulate, very willing to discuss the case" when Maskell and other detectives interviewed Duncan on Oct. 20, 2006. The interview lasted approximately three hours.
Duncan told detectives he arrived at the Groene home between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on May 16, 2005. Duncan planned to make his approach from a field near the home, using night vision goggles to see what he was doing.
Maskell said Duncan told him Duncan was very concerned about the two dogs in the Groene home and that he had collected "intell" on the home and the people inside.
When Duncan first arrived at the Groene house, he said he used a lawn chair to peer inside the window of Dylan and Shasta's bedroom. The light was on, but the children were asleep. While he was looking in the window, one of the dogs entered the room, looked at Duncan, and growled.
Duncan told investigators the "dog made me", so he retreated to the fence line and waited for approximately an hour.
Maskell said Duncan told him that Duncan was prepared at any time to abort his plan.
Duncan came back to the house and opened the back door to see if it made any noise. It didn't and Duncan said he retreated to the fence again to "build his nerve" to commit the murders.
Duncan told Maskell he loaded a shotgun with bird shot first for the dogs and a slug was also loaded "for the man."