Mother who killed kids begins 35-year sentence in SCDC prison

Published: Mar. 30, 2012 at 1:02 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM EDT
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Shaquan Duley
Shaquan Duley
2-year-old Devan Duley and 1-year-old Ja'Van
2-year-old Devan Duley and 1-year-old Ja'Van
Shaquan Duley (Source: SC Dept. of Correction)
Shaquan Duley (Source: SC Dept. of Correction)

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - Shaquan Duley, the Orangeburg mother who smothered her two young sons and then staged a crash into the Edisto River in August of 2010, is now in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

Duley is being held at Graham Correctional Institution on Broad River Road in Columbia. She will be evaluated at the facility before being assigned to a maximum security prison.

The 30-year-old is expected to be released from prison on August 7, 2045.

On Friday, Duley was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the murders of her sons.

Duley appeared before the judge Friday morning in shackles and clutching a Bible. She began by reaffirming her guilty plea to the murder of her two sons, 18-month-old Ja'van T. Duley and 2-year-old Devan C. Duley.

Judge Edgar Dickson decided to give Duley longer than the minimum of 30 years and also gave her credit for the 592 days she's already served in jail. She will not be eligible for parole.

"The judge is a fair man," said Duley's attorney Carl B. Grant after Friday's sentencing. "We certainly think the sentence represents justice in this case."

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe declined to say what he thought Duley's sentence should have been, but did say he was glad she didn't get the minimum of 30 years.

"It's difficult for any judge to give somebody life when they've accepted criminal responsibility," said Pascoe. "We finally have some closure on this case.

Pascoe said he had been leaning toward the death penalty all along.

Duley told investigators that 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.

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.

Grant told the judge during a previous hearing that she cut her wrists with a box cutter before suffocating Ja'van and Devan. Grant said she was depressed after a fight with relatives over her parenting abilities.

Duley made no deal with prosecutors. Grant said he does not plan to appeal the sentence.

Duley is on her way to Columbia where she'll go through a state corrections evaluation before she's assigned a permanent prison cell.

Duley will celebrate her 30th birthday in a state prison cell and she'll be 63 when she's freed.

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