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South Carolina mother Shaquan Duley pleads guilty to murder in sons' deaths

Shaquan Duley Update: Judge Denies Bond for South Caroline Mother Accused of Killing Her Sons
Shaquan Duley (CBS Affiliate WCSC)

(CBS/AP) ORANGEBURG, S.C. - A South Carolina mother pleaded guilty Friday to killing her two young sons by suffocating them, then putting their bodies into a car and rolling it into a river.

Shaquan Duley, 30, pleaded guilty without making a deal with prosecutors. She faces between 30 years and life in prison when she is sentenced later this month.

Divers pulled the bodies of 2-year-old Devean and 18-month-old Ja'van from the North Edisto River on August 16, 2010. Duley initially told police she fell asleep at the wheel before the car went into the river about 40 miles south of Columbia, but authorities questioned her story after finding no skid marks or signs 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, where she held her hands over the boys' mouths.

Duley's relatives and attorney 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 distraught, 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 those attempts failed, Duley intended to die inside her car in the river before changing her mind and climbing out, Grant has said.

Duley has been held without bond since her August 2010 arrest.

Complete coverage of Shaquan Duley on Crimesider

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