Judy Clarke, a prominent capital defense attorney, told U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge on Tuesday that she and the other attorneys didn't realize the extent of Joseph Edward Duncan III's mental problems when they first took the case. She said they eventually understood that Duncan thought he was receiving revelations about his legal case through the television and books, and once even through his mother's decision to send a holiday package of sausage and cheese to him in jail.
Her testimony came as part of the retrospective competency hearing that was ordered by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to help Lodge determine whether Duncan was mentally competent when he gave up his right to appeal his death sentence in 2008.
Clarke described Duncan as an intelligent client who could handle concrete facts and ideas well, but who also believed that by refusing to participate in his legal case he would lead mankind on some sort of path to greater enlightenment.
Duncan has been attending the hearing and is being held at the Ada County Jail in Boise.
His crimes are among the most gruesome in recent Idaho history, and he's been convicted of five murders spanning three states.