Man Accused Of Throwing Drug-Fueled "Death Party" For Ailing Wife

Man Accused Of Throwing Drug-Fueled "Death Party" For Ailing Wife

By Keri Blakinger 02/04/19

The Minnesota man was charged with multiple felonies.

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older man in jail after being accused of throwing drug-fueled party

A Minnesota man was arrested after he allegedly threw a drug-fueled “death party” for his ailing wife who did not want to die in a nursing home. She stopped her medications, they rocked out to Quiet Riot, had sex and did meth. Then, on January 24, she died. 

Afterward, according to the Mankato Free Press, prosecutors charged 58-year-old Duane Arden Johnson with criminal neglect. 

It all started a few days earlier, when 69-year-old Debra Lynn Johnson begged her husband to take her out of the transitional care center. She’d had two heart attacks and struggled with diabetes, high blood pressure and mental health problems. But at her request, her husband agreed to take her back to their Searles home against medical advice, according to charging documents. 

Then, he brought home some drugs, and at some point someone spray-painted the words “Death Parde God Hell” in red on the front door. She couldn’t eat food or drink water, so Johnson used snow to wet the dying woman’s lips. 

They had sex the morning of January 24, and two hours later she died. Afterward, he wrapped her in linen and left her body at the top of the stairs. He allegedly waited a few hours—to be sure she was dead—before calling 911. 

When the officers showed up, according to the paper, Johnson ran outside naked to greet them, shouting about his wife’s death. Then, authorities said he ran back inside and hid in the bathtub, trying to scrape “things” off his skin.

Johnson allegedly told investigators he had 47 guns in the house, and officers recovered four rifles and two shotguns—along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Some of the weapons were stolen, he told police. 

During an initial court appearance, a judge set Johnson’s bail at $250,000. That same day, Brown County Attorney Charles Hanson said that—in addition to felonies for criminal neglect and receiving stolen property—more criminal charges are possible, according to the La Crosse Tribune

The death appeared suspicious, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was called in to help with the case.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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