Mother accused of killing her 2 kids to plead guilty

Shaquan Duley
Shaquan Duley

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The woman accused of suffocating her two small children, strapping them into car seats and then driving the car into the Edisto River is expected to plead guilty Friday morning to unspecified charges in an Orangeburg County court.

Officials say 30-year-old Shaquan Duley will appear in court to deliver a guilty plea Friday. Duley is charged with murder in the deaths of her two children, 18-month-old Ja'van T. Duley and 2-year-old Devan C. Duley.

The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office says that Duley confessed to the crimes, which occurred back on Aug. 9, 2010. Duley told investigators that she placed her hands over the boys' faces and suffocated them at the Trumps Inn in downtown Orangeburg. Investigators say she then placed the two children into her car, strapped them in their car seats and drove it into a river.

When Duley confessed, she told investigators she was unemployed and living with her mother. The two often fought about Duley's parenting, according to investigators.

The night before Ja'van T. Duley Devean C. Duley were placed in the river, the two women had an argument about the children and, Duley told investigators, "she just wanted to be free."

The case received national attention and comparisons to the Susan Smith case where Smith was charged with murdering her two boys in Union County.

Court officials have not released the specific charges that Duley is expected to plead to during Friday's 9 a.m. court appearance.

Back in 2010, witnesses saw the car floating from the boat landing down the river and watched rescue workers pull the bodies of the two little boys from the car. Duley left the car and walked about 3/4 of a mile away, where she contacted someone to report that she had been in an accident, deputies say.

When investigators interviewed Duley after the incident they say she seemed to be concerned. When deputies got to her she had debris on her body to suggest she had been in the water.

Duley's attorney, Carl Grant, says 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.

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

In Sept. 2010, attorneys in the case said Duley could face the death penalty. Duley has been lodged at the Orangeburg County Detention Center since her initial arrest.

Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved. WIS contributed to this report.