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Duane Johnson Charged With Murder In Ailing Wife's Overdose Death

SEARLES, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A Minnesota man accused of removing his ailing wife from a care center, taking her home and holding what he described as a "death party" before she died has been now been charged with murder.

Fifty-eight-year-old Duane Johnson had been charged with criminal neglect and receiving stolen property, both felonies, in the January death of his wife, Debra Lynn Johnson, at their home in Searles.

Brown County prosecutors have now added a third-degree murder charge.

Duane Arden Johnson
A Minnesota man who allegedly gave his ailing wife methamphetamine and held a "death party" before she died faces criminal charges, authorities said. (Credit: KEYC)

Prosecutors say Johnson told investigators he was fulfilling a promise to his wife that he would not let her die in a nursing home when he removed her from a transitional care facility against medical advice.

Authorities say Johnson told them he gave some methamphetamine to his wife because she wanted to party before her death. He allegedly told authorities that he did not assist in his wife's death and that he only wanted her to be comfortable.

A criminal complaint says the 69-year-old woman -- who has a medical history of cardiac arrest, high blood pressure and diabetes -- died of a methamphetamine overdose.

After her death, Johnson allegedly wrapped her body in a bed sheet "as per the Old Testament."

During a search of the residence, officers found multiple firearms, ammunition and prescription medication.

If convicted, Johnson faces up to 25 years in prison for the murder charge, and up to 30 years for the other two felony charges.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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