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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
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/articleid/3655291/1/pictures/1521978">Photo - Murder defendant Joshu Steven Durcho is escorted into a Canadian County courtroom Monday for a hearing on the admissiblity of a statement he made to two state agents.
 <strong>PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND - PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND</strong>
Murder defendant Joshu Steven Durcho is escorted into a Canadian County courtroom Monday for a hearing on the admissiblity of a statement he made to two state agents. PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND - PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND

Many who deal with or care for the mentally disabled consider describing them as retarded extremely offensive. However, state criminal law still uses the retardation language.

The issue of mental retardation is different in criminal cases than the issues of mental competency or insanity.

Prosecutors allege Durcho strangled his girlfriend, Summer Rust, 25, in 2009 because she threatened to call police on him and he had vowed he would never go back to prison.

They allege he strangled her 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 their El Reno apartment.

The murder trial has been postponed repeatedly. The judge could reschedule the trial when he meets with attorneys March 20.

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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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