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Father Sues Sex Offender in Idaho Deaths

October 6, 2006

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ A sex offender accused of killing three members of an Idaho family so he could molest two children has been sued by the children’s father.

Steven Groene seeks unspecified damages and asks a judge to prevent Joseph Duncan III from profiting from the slayings with book, television or movie deals.

Groene filed the wrongful-death lawsuit Wednesday in federal court, alleging that Duncan was responsible for the deaths of 13-year-old Slade Groene, 9-year-old Dylan Groene and their mother, Brenda Groene, who is Steven Groene’s ex-wife.

Duncan, 43, faces the death penalty if convicted on three counts of murder. The convicted child molester is accused of using a hammer to kill Brenda Groene; her fiance, Mark McKenzie; and Slade Groene, at the family’s home east of Coeur d’Alene.

State prosecutors allege he killed the three so he could abduct and molest Dylan Groene and his 8-year-old sister, Shasta Groene. Federal authorities are also pursuing charges and plan to seek the death penalty.

Duncan was arrested July 2, 2005, at a restaurant in Coeur d’Alene while eating with Shasta. Dylan’s remains were later found at a remote Montana campsite.

Duncan’s federal public defender, Roger Peven, said Duncan would not speak to The Associated Press and that he likely did not know about the lawsuit.