March 25, 2012 11:03am PT by Jane Kellogg
Oprah Winfrey to Interview South Carolina Mom Who Murdered Her Two Young Sons
Oprah Winfrey has secured an exclusive interview with Shaquan Duley, a mother who confessed to murdering her two young sons, as part of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
In her first television interview, airing Sunday, April 1 (9-10 p.m. ET/PT), taking place one week before her sentence is announced, Duley will sit face to face with Winfrey behind bars at the Orangeburg-Calhoun Detention Center in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Duley has been held without bond for nearly two years waiting to learn her fate.
During her interview with Duley, Winfrey asks the mother why she killed her two innocent children, and also talks to Duley’s mother Helen and sister Adrian, who originally told their story to Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show in September 2010 one month after Duley’s arrest. Winfrey will also meet and talk to Saniya, Duley’s 7-year-old daughter.
According to her confession and police reports, 29-year-old Duley shared a home with her mother Helen, and younger sister Adrian in 2010. After an argument, Duley stormed out of her house taking her two sons, 2-year-old Devean and 18-month-old Ja’van, but leaving her 5 year old daughter Saniya behind. Police say Duley checked into an Orangeburg motel, and in the early morning hours of August 16, 2010, she smothered her sons to death by placing her hands over their mouth and nose.
Then, police say, Duley buckled her sons’ bodies in their car seats and drove to a rural boat ramp 15 miles away, driving her car into the river where it began to sink. Once the car was submerged she exited the vehicle, leaving the bodies of her two sons inside. Duley then flagged down a passing motorist claiming she had an accident and her children were underwater. When police arrived, they say they were suspicious of Duley’s story as there were no signs of a crash. Frantically, divers searched for the car and ultimately recovered the bodies of the two young boys. Investigators say Duley confessed to the murders and the cover up. On March 16, 2012, during a plea hearing, Duley pled guilty to two counts of murder and begged for forgiveness from her family, the community and the judge. Duley now faces 60 years to life in prison for the murders.
Before Oprah's Next Chapter launched, Oprah talked about two other interviews she is determined to land: Susan Smith and O.J. Simpson.
“I have a dream of O.J. Simpson confessing to me,” said Winfrey to voluble cheers from the crowd at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center. “And I am going to make that happen people.”
“I don’t just want the interview,” she continued. “I want the interview on the condition that you are ready, Mr. Simpson.”
Similar to Duley's case, Susan Smith was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for murdering her two young sons, 3-year-old Michael Daniel Smith and 14-month-old Alexander Tyler Smith. Smith had previously reported a black man had stolen her car and kidnapped her sons, before confessing nine days later that she let her car roll into a nearby lake with her children inside.
Oprah's Next Chapter is a new primetime series on Winfrey's OWN, currently the most-watched program on Winfrey's struggling network. The series features Winfrey stepping out of Harpo Studios for her in-depth interviews and conversations with newsmakers, celebrities, and real-world families. Winfrey recently interviewed Whitney Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, on the show -- and drew in a record 3.5 million viewers. Oprah's Next Chapter airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
OWN debuted on January 1, 2011, in approximately 77 million homes on what was the Discovery Health Channel. The network has famously struggled since its launch, eliminating 30 staff members in a recent network restructuring as well as canceling Rosie O'Donnell's five-month-old talk show. Analysts estimate that OWN could lose $142.9 million this year.