Duley's attorney compares case to insanity trial out of Ohio

By Jody Barr - bio | email

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - A possible defense strategy in the Shaquan Duley case is becoming more clear. Her defense team appears to be looking to an insanity plea for their client.

Duley stands accused of smothering her two children to death and trying to cover it up.

Duley's lawyer, Carl Grant, spent several minutes at her bond hearing Monday spelling out how this case compares to a case out of Ohio.

In that case, a mother drowned her two children in a bath tub in 2007. Three judges found her not guilty by reason of insanity because they determined she didn't know right from wrong.

"Amber Hill was diagnosed with severe depressive disorder with psychotic features -- the exact diagnosis of Shaquan Duley," Grant said in Monday's bond hearing.

Grant said the diagnosis shows Duley didn't know legal right from wrong when investigators say she suffocated her sons then dumped their bodies in the Edisto River.

In the months leading up to the killings, Hill suffered from depression, struggled to raise her children and had thoughts of suicide, psychologists testified.

"The similarities between that case and this one are absolutely striking," Grant said.

Grant calls it a mirror image of Duley's story. Within hours of investigators pulling Duley's car out of the river, interrogating her, then arresting her, mental health doctors diagnosed her with the same illness that Grant says took over Hill.

However, Solicitor David Pascoe says Duley set off a trail of cover-up that started with telling a state trooper it was a car accident that sent her car into the Edisto River.

"She knows the difference from right and from wrong," Pascoe said. "Ms. Duley does by lying to law enforcement, trying to get away with this incident."

As for Amber Hill, the Ohio court ordered her to an indefinite sentence in a behavioral facility and could stay there for the rest of her life.

If Duley's attorneys take the insanity route, it could take more than a year and several court hearings before the state determines whether she's fit for trial.

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