A Southern Minnesota man said he granted his ailing wife's wish to die by throwing her a dayslong "death party" featuring meth and her favorite heavy metal music, according to murder charges.
Duane A. Johnson, 58, of Searles, was newly charged in Brown County District Court this week with third-degree murder to go along with the criminal neglect and receiving stolen property counts filed earlier in connection with the Jan. 24 death of Debra Johnson in their home about 6 miles south of New Ulm.
Debra L. Johnson, 69, died from an overdose of methamphetamine that her husband had given her, according to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office.
She had been treated for various health problems at a transitional care center, but her husband defied medical advice and brought her home at her request for a five-day send-off that included the meth and her favorite heavy metal song, according to the charges.
Debra Johnson's medical history included cardiac arrest, diabetes and high blood pressure, the criminal complaint said.
Duane Johnson remains jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail ahead of an April 1 court hearing. A message was left Thursday with his attorney seeking a response to the allegations.
According to the criminal complaint:
A sheriff's deputy dispatched to the home late that morning saw "Death Parde God Hell" spray-painted in red on the front screen door and was greeted by a naked Duane Johnson yelling that his wife was dead upstairs.
Debra Johnson's body, wrapped in a bedsheet, was found at the top of the stairs. Her husband said he wrapped her because "I prepared the dead like the Bible told me to do."
Duane Johnson told authorities the "death party" was her idea and began about five days earlier and included constant "rocking out" music, especially her favorite, "Metal Health" by Quiet Riot.
To ensure he would fulfill his ailing wife's wish to die and have her pain and shaking end, Duane Johnson explained, he disabled the phones in the home so he could not call for an ambulance. However, an officer found the phones to be in working order.
A search of the home also turned up many guns and ammunition, authorities said.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482