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Bond denied for Orangeburg mother accused of killing toddlers

Shaquan Duley Shaquan Duley

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

ORANGEBURG, SC (WCSC) - The Orangeburg mother accused of killing her two young sons was denied bond by a judge Monday afternoon.

Despite pleas from her attorneys, family and friends, a judge denied bond for 29-year-old Shaquan Duley during a hearing in Orangeburg.

The solicitor urged the judge to refuse bond for Duley because he said she was a flight risk, a threat to community and a threat to herself and her 5-year-old daughter. Duley faces murder charges after divers pulled the bodies of 2-year-old Devean Duley and 18-month-old Ja'van Duley from the North Edisto River last month.

Duley was charged with two counts of murder after authorities say she confessed to smothering the boys, strapping them into their car seats then rolling her car into the river.

Duley's parents, sister and reverend spoke in support of her getting out on bond, but solicitor David Pascoe argued that Duley needs to stay behind bars until her trial because of the nature of the charges against her, charges Pascoe says gives her every reason to run.

"This, of course is a potential capital case," said Pascoe. "Just the mere fact that this involves the murder of two people under a common scheme makes it a death penalty case. The mere fact that we have the murder of two children under the age of 11, makes a death penalty case. I need to inform the court that I have in no way and by no means have I ever excluded the possibility that I may seek the death penalty on Ms. Duley."

Duley's attorney, Carl Grant, told the court that Duley is suffering from major depressive disorder with psychotic features. He said she was diagnosed just hours after allegedly smothering Devean and Javon duley to death at an Orangeburg motel.

Divers pulled the bodies of 2-year-old Devean Duley and 18-month-old Ja'van Duley from the North Edisto River last month. Duley was charged with two counts of murder after authorities say she confessed to smothering the boys, strapping them into their car seats then rolling her car into the river.

Investigators said Duley acted after a fight with her own mother, who Duley said badgered her about her failures as a parent. Hundreds packed a funeral service for the boys several days after their deaths.

Grant told the court that Duley couldn't distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crimes. He also described three different ways she tried to kill herself right before and after the alleged murders.

"This is a person who made three attempts to commit suicide," Grant said.

Grant said that Duley was an unemployed single mother who was majorly depressed. he told the court that she suffered the loss of two family members, she was failing in school and she fought bone cancer in her sternum three years ago.

He said her suicide attempts took place around the time of the alleged murders of her children, by slitting her wrists with a boxcutter, overdosing on 12 goodys pain powders and driving her car into the Edisto River where she sat in the water and could have suffered hypothermia.

"Hours after she was out of the river, she was diagnosed by the Orangeburg Mental Health Center, a sub-unit of the South Carolina department of mental health, as having major depressive disorder severe, with psychotic features," Grant said.

Grant said her unstable mental and drugged status at the time is part of her defense.

"If a person is proven to have commited murder, and it is also established that the murder is committed while there is an emotional disturbance or dimished capacity, the law says that is a mitigating circumstance," Grant added.

Even though the defense says she was depressed and drugged, the prosecution says she still knew the difference between right and wrong.

"We've already established in this court she knows the difference between right and wrong by lying to law enforcement and trying to get away with this incident," Pascoe said.

The defense said because of the serious nature of the crimes, two counts of murders, Duley could face the death penalty. Duley will remain at the Orangeburg County Detention Center.

The judge said if Duley's trial date has not been set within six months, he will hear her case to be let out on bond again.


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