Minnesota man who threw meth-fueled 'death party' for wife now charged with murder

Prosecutors: Wife died of methamphetamine overdose

Duane Arden Johnson, 58, was arrested on unrelated charges after telling authorities that he threw a "death party" for his wife before she died at their home. (Brown County Sheriff's Office)

SEARLES, Minn. - A Minnesota man who police said threw a meth-fueled "death party" for his wife before she died in January has been charged with murder.

Duane Arden Johnson, 58, was initially charged with criminal neglect, theft and receiving stolen property. He is now also facing a third-degree murder charge after a criminal complaint said his wife died of a methamphetamine overdose.

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Debra Lynn Johnson, 69, died on January 25 after being removed from a nursing home by Duane Johnson, according to investigators. Officials said Debra had suffered from two heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure and mental illness when Duane removed her from the center against medical advice.

Duane Johnson told police that his wife begged him to take her home to die. He said he and his wife had a "death party" for the final days of her life.

Duane Johnson said he and his wife were using methamphetamine and that she had stopped taking her medication in her final days. Duane said his wife couldn't eat or drink, so he used snow to moisten her mouth, and he held her while she suffered convulsions. He said they had sex fewer than two hours before she died, and they had been "rocking out" to their favorite song, "Metal Health" by Quiet Riot.

A criminal complaint obtained by WCCO said that Debra Johnson died of a methamphetamine overdose. Duane Johnson had told authorities that he did not assist in his wife’s death and that he only wanted her to be comfortable.

Authorities said they found four rifles and two shotguns while searching Duane Johnson's residence, as well as hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He reportedly told an investigator that he had 47 guns, many of which were stolen.

Duane Johnson now faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the murder charge. He faces up to 30 years for the other felony charges, officials said.

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