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Judge approves death penalty for man accused of killing family


EL RENO, Okla. — An El Reno man accused of killing his girlfriend and four young kids can be put to death if he is found guilty. 

A Canadian County judge ruled this week that prosecutors can seek the death penalty against Joshua Durcho.

Durcho faces five counts of murder for the killings that took place in 2009.

Durcho’s attorney’s fought to avoid the death penalty by claiming the accused killer is mentally retarded.

In the end, the judge disagreed.

Several family members of the victims have long preferred the death penalty for Durcho.

“I’m all for the death penalty,” Summer Rust’s brother, Robbie Booth, said. “If he doesn’t deserve it, who does?”

State law prevents the death penalty for suspects considered mentally retarded, anyone with an IQ of 70 or lower.

Two separate tests reported Durcho’s IQ to be 72.

Legal expert Garvin Issacs said if Durcho is convicted of murder, the issue of imposing the death penalty will once again have to be argued to the jury.

“It will be up to the jury to decide whether or not the death penalty will be imposed and one of the issues will be what is his IQ,” Isaacs said.

Durcho is still scheduled to go to trial in September.