Video: Joseph Duncan’s Blog

updated 7/12/2005 12:16:37 PM ET 2005-07-12T16:16:37

Joseph Duncan, the suspected kidnapper of Shasta Groene and murderer of her brother Dylan, wrote a blog that details the range of his criminal mind. This new and compelling document holds many possibilities for the impending case against him. Former San Diego District Attorney Paul Pfingst joined MSNBC’s ‘The Abrams Report’ host Dan Abrams on Monday to discuss the new evidence.

Prosecutors hope to use the blog in their case against Duncan. Called the Fifth Nail, he began the blog back in January of 2004. Throughout his postings, Duncan describes his rage against the public for stigmatizing him as a sex offender and includes what seems to be an admission to crimes he‘s committed.

“I was in prison for over 18 years, since the age of 17.  As an adult, all I knew was the oppression of incarceration. All those years I dreamed of getting out and getting even.” Duncan blogged.

The problem facing prosecutors, however, is the problem of when, if at all, the blog will be admitted as evidence. Attorneys will first have to prove that the blog was written by Duncan to even have it considered as evidence.

The next problem concerns when to present the evidence. Though the prosecution may want to use it during the penalty phase of the trial to show a pattern in practice or simply an admission of guilt, there remains the looming possibility that the defense could use it to their advantage.

Duncan’s own sadistic words could be used to build a mental insanity case. On top of this, though the blog may read like a confession, a judge may rule it not specific enough to a particular event, meaning the defendant could come back and disprove it during the guilt phase.

“It (the blog) will probably come in on the death phase of a capital case because this is just the type of thing that would show why this man should be executed for what we call evidence in aggravation, or aggravating evidence. And this is the type of thing out of his own mouth that would put him in the gas chamber.” Pfingst said.  

To watch the full interview between Dan Abrams and former San Diego District Attorney Paul Pfingst, click on the 'Launch' button under the video above and to the right.

Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.


Discussion comments