Holy shit on toast – here’s an interesting twist on the Trenton Duckett saga that I didn’t discover until tonight. Joshua Duckett, of course, is the father of Joshua Duckett and the grandfather of Trenton Duckett, currently the most well-known missing child in the United States. James, however, is not hard at work helping his son find poor Trenton. Instead, the elder Duckett is sitting on Florida’s Death Row for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Teresa McAbee in 1987. Duckett was the last person to see McAbee alive before her dressed body was found at Knight Lake, near the town of Mascotte, Florida.
For his part, Duckett maintains he’s an innocent man. He’s been railroaded – RAILROADED, I say! The Canadian Coalition against The Death Penalty has a personal letter written by Duckett attesting to his innocence, as well as pointers to other information describing how the case against him was flawed
For a while, retired homicide captain Marshall Frank bought much of this evidence. In 2003, he published a two-part article documenting numerous problems with the case, such as rotten evidence handling and prosecutorial sloppiness. But after pressing deeper into the case, Frank did a 180-degree turnaround. He concluded that, not only was Duckett guilty of murdering McAbee, but that he was a “serial killer” who was also responsible for the murder of 14-year-old Jennifer Weldon. Frank’s turnabout occurred after he examined the case file the Lake County police had on Duckett regarding the McAbee murder…and after the Polk County police shared information on a string of other similar murders, including Weldon’s.
I’ve been unable to discover whether the Weldon murder was ever solved. It appears that James Duckett has refused to cooperate with prosecutors on any other cases, which means that progress on these 20-year-old crimes has probably ground to a halt. Weldon, having died before the advent of the Internet, lives on only in the memories of the family and friends who loved her…and in the desks of detectives who no doubt would love to close her cold file.
Back in August, over at the Court TV forums, users discussed James Duckett and what probable impact he might have had on his son, Joshua. Mind you, this was immediately after Trenton went missing, when Josh and Melinda were both prime suspects. At the very least, this family history explains why Josh wasn’t the perfect father up until the time Trenton disappeared. I wonder what similar behavioral insights lie in Melinda’s past…?