Judge allows escape attempt evidence at El Reno murder trial

A judge ruled Monday prosecutors can put on evidence at Joshua Durcho's upcoming murder trial that he tried to escape from jail after his arrest.
by Nolan Clay Modified: July 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm •  Published: July 30, 2012
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The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 ruled the death penalty could not be imposed on a “mentally retarded criminal” because of the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments.

Under Oklahoma law, a murder defendant is ineligible for a death sentence if he has an IQ of 70 or below, plus significant limitations in two or more adaptive skills such as communication and self care.

Also, by law, the mental condition must have been present before the defendant's 18th birthday.

Durcho scored 72 twice on IQ tests given since his arrest in 2009, records show.

Prosecutors allege Durcho strangled Summer Rust, 25, when she picked up the phone to call police on him. Prosecutors say he had vowed he would never go back to prison.

They allege he strangled Rust's three daughters, Kirsten Rust, 7, Autumn Rust, 7, and Evynn Garas, 3, and her son, Teagin Rust, 4, to eliminate them as witnesses.

The victims' bodies were found Jan. 12, 2009, in the apartment. The children's bodies had been stacked in a bathtub partially filled with water. Durcho was arrested after a car wreck in Texas.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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