Man Gets 6 Life Terms in 1996 Deaths, Solicitation
A judge in Green River sentenced a carpet layer to six life terms in prison for pushing his wife and young son off a 200-foot cliff in 1996 and for soliciting the murder of his parents a couple of years later.
A jury last month found James Robert Duke, 29, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of soliciting the murders of his wife and son and two counts of soliciting his parents’ murders.
Judge Jere Ryckman sentenced Duke to life terms on all six counts; all but two will run consecutively.
While Duke’s attorney LaVoy Taylor sought concurrent terms, County Atty. Harold Moneyhun urged consecutive sentences.
Duke said he will appeal.
Prosecutors said Duke killed Liana Mae Duke, 22, and Erik Duke, 5, because he was in an unwanted marriage and did not want to pay child support. The couple married right after high school when Liana Duke was pregnant.
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