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Oklahoma appeals court denies Durcho a separate jury trial over mental issue in El Reno murder case

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has denied Joshua Steven Durcho a separate jury trial on whether he is mentally retarded. Durcho is accused of killing his girlfriend and her four children in El Reno.
by Nolan Clay Published: March 7, 2012

An El Reno man accused of killing his girlfriend and her four children will not be getting a separate jury trial on a mental issue.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals refused last week to order a separate jury trial for Joshua Steven Durcho on his mental capability.

Durcho, 29, is charged with five first-degree murder counts, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. His defense attorneys contend he is ineligible for that punishment because he is mentally retarded.

“Mr. Durcho has significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, as measured by a full scale score of 72 on an” IQ test administered by a psychologist, his attorneys claim.

His attorneys asked that a separate jury decide the mental issue before Durcho's murder trial begins. The attorneys argued that jurors who just convicted a defendant of an infamous crime may be too angry to make a rational decision about mental retardation.

Canadian County District Judge Gary E. Miller in January refused a separate trial. The appeals court also refused, saying defense attorneys could complain about the fairness of a single jury trial again if Durcho is convicted.

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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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