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South Carolina mom Shaquan Duley expected to plead guilty in sons' deaths

Shaquan Duley CBS

(CBS/AP) COLUMBIA, S.C. - A South Carolina mother was expected to plead guilty Friday to charges she suffocated her two young sons before driving her car into a river in an attempt to cover up their deaths.

Shaquan Duley, 30, has been held without bond since her August 2010 arrest in the deaths of her boys, 2-year-old Devean and 18-month-old Ja'van. She has been charged with murder but the charges to which she would plead guilty were not immediately clear.

On August 16, 2010, divers pulled the boys' bodies from the North Edisto River. Duley originally told police she fell asleep at the wheel before the car went into the river but law enforcement officials questioned her story after finding no skid marks or sign of a crash.

Later, police said Duley told them that after being badgered by her sister and mother about her failings as a parent, Duley fled with her sons to a motel. This is where she held her hands over the boys' mouths.

Investigators said she then strapped their bodies into their car seats, drove 10 miles to a boat ramp and watched as the car rolled into the water. Duley flagged down a passing motorist to call the Highway patrol.

Duley's relatives and lawyer have said the young mother was depressed, out of a job and failing online classes.  A month after her arrest, Duley's family was on television, telling Oprah Winfrey the woman was in a manic state and irate after the family fight.

Her attorney, Carl B. Grant, told Winfrey that Duley was depressed, in part owing to a lack of contact with her children's father. She tried to kill herself the night of her sons' deaths by consuming a dozen packages of a common headache remedy and trying to slit her wrists with a box cutter, Grant said.

When the suicide attempts failed, her lawyer said Duley intended to die inside her car in the river before changing her mind and climbing out, adding that he intended to pursue an insanity defense. A judge ordered that Duley be mentally evaluated to see if she was fit to stand trial.

Complete coverage of Shaquan Duley on Crimesider

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