Shaquan Duley pleads guilty to killing her two sons - - Columbia, South Carolina

Shaquan Duley pleads guilty to killing her two sons

Shaquan Duley Shaquan Duley
2-year-old Devan Duley and 1-year-old Je'Van 2-year-old Devan Duley and 1-year-old Je'Van
Shaquan Duley Shaquan Duley

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - The woman accused of suffocating her two children and then putting them in the Edisto River in 2010 will spend at least 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing the boys.

"In spite of what anybody else thinks in this world, I want you and everyone else to know, I love my sons" Shaquan Duly told the court Friday. "I love them dearly and my heart hurts every single day because I don't have them anymore."

The 30-year-old Duley waived her right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in an Orangeburg County courtroom on Friday morning.

Prosecutors said no plea deal was made.

Duley is accused of killing her two sons, 18-month-old Ja'van T. Duley and 2-year-old Devan C. Duley, in August of 2010.

Investigators said she told them shortly after the murders that she placed her hands over the boys' faces and suffocated them at the Trumps Inn in downtown Orangeburg. She then placed the two dead children into her car, strapped them in their car seats, and drove it into the river, according to deputies.

Duley left the car in the water and walked about 3/4 of a mile away, where she contacted someone to report that she had fallen asleep at the wheel and had been in an accident, deputies said.

She spoke publicly on Friday for the first time since her arrest. "This is the hardest thing I've gone through in my life," said Duley in court.

Several of Duley's family members spoke on her behalf. Her mother, Helen, said Shaquan loved her children and asked the judge to have mercy on her daughter.

"Something had to happen to her and she has to snap to do such a thing, but your honor, I ask you please sir, please have mercy on her" Helen Duley asked the judge. "She's never done anything to harm anybody in her life until August 16, 2010."

Duley's father told the judge that Shaquan is a very loving person. "This is truly not my daughter's character," said Arthur Duley.

Shaquan's sister also asked the judge for mercy.

Duley's attorney, Carl B. Grant, said Shaquan made the decision herself to enter the guilty plea.

Grant told the judge that Shaquan was suffering from emotional issues before killing her two sons. He said Duley cut her wrists with a box cutter before suffocating Ja'van and Devan.

Arguing that Duley can still be rehabilitated, Grant asked the judge for the minimum sentence of 30 years in prison. He also said Duley is a cancer survivor and should get credit for 577 days spent in jail.

"I don't know what went on with me," said Duley. "I do know I was depressed for a long time and I hurt for a long time, but in spite of all that I know I'm a good person. I know I have a good heart, so please your honor, please have mercy on me."

Solicitor David Pascoe said he considered going after the death penalty on Duley, but allowed her to plead to two counts of murder.

When She's sentenced later this month, Duley faces at least 30 years to life in prison.

"There is nothing minimal about the minimum," said Grant. "30 years is a long time."

Sentencing is scheduled for the week of March 26.

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

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