On January 24, 2019, some strange activities were going on in a rundown house in Searles, Minnesota. The land was covered in snow, and the house was built of clapboard in a tiny farming community out in the middle of nowhere. Nevertheless, police had been called to investigate the strange goings-on at the property. When they arrived, the police noticed one thing that was undeniable – someone had spray painted letters on the screen door referring to death, God, Hell, and a party.
Police found a bizarre scene inside the home. A man without any clothes on opened the door and screamed at police about how his wife was dead upstairs. The man turned out to be 58-year-old Duane Arden Johnson.
As it turned out, Johnson would later reveal the gruesome details about the incident to the police. He said how his wife begged him to take her out of the nursing home so she could die peacefully in the comfort of her own home. Because she was dying, Johnson came up with a great idea. He and his wife spent her last days on the planet having a “death party,” in which they rocked out to metal music and did copious amounts of methamphetamine.
Prosecutors claim that Johnson’s wife, 69-year-old Debra Lynn Johnson, died after overdosing on meth. The prosecutor points the finger of blame for her death upon her husband for giving her the lethal dose.
On Monday, Johnson was charged with third-degree murder after he had already been arrested in January and charged them with felony criminal neglect that resulted in the death of his wife.
In the years leading up to her death, Debra Johnson suffered two heart attacks. She was diagnosed with a litany of health complications including high blood pressure, diabetes, and affective disorder. Her life was very difficult, so in September 2018, a social worker helped mover her to a nursing home that was 70 miles from her home in Searles, MN. Because she revealed to her husband that she didn’t want to die in the facility, he removed his wife and brought her home against doctors’ advice.
When police broke up Johnson’s “death party,” he told the officers about how Debra had been “shaking so violently,” and he “couldn’t stand seeing her flop around anymore.”
The police asked Johnson why he didn’t call an ambulance and have her rushed to the nearest hospital. He said that last time she was sick like this, he did call an ambulance and they took her to the hospital in New Ulm. He then said that “them motherf***ers revived her,” which “made my life s***.”
More officers arrived at the house to find Johnson high on meth and not wearing any clothes. As for his dead wife, Debra’s corpse was discovered at the top of a narrow stairway. Her body was still warm and was wrapped neatly with a gray bed sheet. Johnson had used a belt to fasten it.
Johnson told police that he “prepared the dead like the Bible told me to do.” He followed the practice outlined in the Old Testament by “cleaning her, making her beautiful and wrapping her in linen.”
Johnson’s court date for the murder charges is yet to be determined.
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