Searles Man Pleads Guilty to Criminal Neglect in Wife’s Death

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A third-degree murder charge against a Searles man has been dropped in a plea deal.

59-year-old Duane Johnson pleaded guilty to criminal neglect in relation to the death of his wife.

The Brown County Attorney’s Office issued in a release, that given Johnson’s lack of criminal history, the presumptive sentence for a conviction of criminal neglect is 48 months in prison. Johnson would be committed to the Commissioner of Corrections for incarceration in prison for 36 months provided the Court approves the resolution.

The Attorney’s Office said they feel this outcome serves the interest of justice.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for August 12th.

In January, Johnson told law enforcement that he had thrown his wife a death party after taking her out of a nursing home. Johnson claimed that his wife wanted the party and wanted to be taken off of her medications. An autopsy showed the cause of death was methamphetamine toxicity.

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