Searles Man Now Charged With Murdering Ailing Wife
A Southern Minnesota man who held what he told police was a “death party” for his wife was charged with murder Monday in Brown County after autopsy results showed his wife died of a methamphetamine overdose.
58-year-old Duane Johnson was originally charged with criminal neglect after the January death of his wife, 69-year-old Debra Johnson. According to the Mankato Free Press, the Brown County attorney’s office added a third-degree murder charge on Monday. Autopsy results that came back in February to the Brown County Sheriff's Office indicated that the cause of death was listed as 'methamphetamine toxicity'.
The new unintentional murder charge can be applied and was in this case when according to a 2018 Minnesota statue:
"Whoever, without intent to cause death, proximately causes the death of a human being by, directly or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, distributing, or administering a controlled substance classified in Schedule I or II, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $40,000, or both." - Minnesota statue 609.195b dealing with murder in the 3rd degree
After his wife's death, it was reported by multiple sources, that when law enforcement arrived, Johnson answered the door and "appeared to be naked." In charging, documents obtained by KSTP-TV a Brown County deputy noticed that "the front screen door of the residence had the words 'Death Parde God Hell' in red spray paint"
The charging document also stated that Johnson told authorities that the victim "had been in a nursing home and that she begged him to get her out because she wanted to die at home."
The charging document went on to state that before the victim's death Duane Johnson had 'removed' the victim from a transitional care facility 'contrary to medical advice.'
Johnson is also facing a charge of receiving stolen property after a search of the home by authorities found six guns, some of which Duane Johnson said were stolen according to the Star Tribune. A full list of all the items found by law enforcement can be located here on page 4.
Johnson has been in the Brown County jail since his wife's Jan. 24 death. His bail was set at $250,000. At the time of this post, the murder charge was not listed on the jail roster website under charges against Johnson.