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Accused murderer of girlfriend, children fights death penalty


EL RENO, Okla. — An El Reno man accused of killing his girlfriend and her four young kids fights to avoid the death penalty.

A non-jury trial continued Monday in Canadian County for Joshua Durcho.

Durcho faces five counts of murder for the killings in early 2009.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case, but Oklahoma law prohibits the death sentence from being imposed for mentally retarded suspects.

Two separate tests reported Durcho’s IQ to be 72, above the state standard for mental retardation of 70.

Still, the defense argues that Durcho’s score falls within a margin for error of the state guidelines.

The father of one of the victims hopes prosecutors are allowed to seek the death penalty.

“I prefer the death penalty but if they do decide he’s mentally retarded, I’m willing to deal with him getting a life sentence or whatever. I prefer the death penalty,” Jason Garas said.

So far, the judge has not decided on Durcho’s mental status.

Durcho is still scheduled to go to trial on the murder charges in September.