Federal judge hopes to rule on child killer's hearing soon

BOISE, Idaho (AP) A federal judge in Idaho will decide soon if condemned killer Joseph Edward Duncan III was mentally competent when he gave up his right to appeal.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge heard closing arguments in Duncan's competency hearing Thursday. Lodge said he would try to issue a decision soon, but noted there were more than 8000 pages of documents he needed to review.

Duncan was convicted of killing several members of a northern Idaho family in 2005 so he could kidnap the family's two youngest children. He tortured both kids in Montana for weeks before killing one of them and returning to Idaho with the other, where he was arrested.

Duncan was sentenced to death and waived his appeals, but an appellate court ordered the mental competency hearing.