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August 25, 2019

Minnesota man who threw meth-filled ‘death party’ for wife now facing murder charge

March 14, 2019
Duane Johnson is now facing a third-degree murder charge in connection with his wife’s death. (Brown County Sheriff’s Office)

A 58-year-old Minnesota man who threw a meth-filled “death party” for his wife has now been charged with murder.

Duane Johnson was initially jailed for criminal neglect after his wife died in January, but a new charge of third-degree murder has been added after an autopsy found that Debra Johnson died from an overdose of methamphetamine.

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“The facts of this case are pretty strange,” Brown County Attorney Chuck Hanson told the Daily News on Thursday.

Hanson said that a defendant can be charged with third-degree murder if he or she provides illegal drugs to a person who dies as a result. He added that the defendant does not have to have the intent to cause death to be charged.

Cops found Debra Johnson’s body in their Searles home on Jan. 24. Duane Johnson, who was found naked at the home, told investigators that his wife begged him to remove her from the nursing home where she was living “because she wanted to die at home,” according to the criminal complaint.

“He reported that he couldn’t stand to see her suffer anymore and that he had promised her a party,” read the complaint.

Duane Johnson said the “death party” had lasted about five days, and that he played rock music for his wife, who he held in in their bed in case she happened to “shake or convulse.” He said that his wife wanted to die, and referenced the Old Testament “often.”

He also told cops that he and his wife had both been using meth, and insisted she wanted to “party” before her death.

The defendant stated that he “was in less pain now that his wife had died because God had given him mercy and relieved some of his pain.”

Debra Johnson, who was 69, was suffering from multiple medical conditions, including diabetes, and had two previous cardiac arrests. She was taking prescription medication for a mental illness, according to the complaint. Duane Johnson had said his wife’s health had been deteriorating in the last few days.

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