Jury finds Duane John Sr. guilty of six counts DUI/manslaughter; receives 90-year sentence
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 10:14 AM
A Philadelphia man was sentenced to 90 years in prison Wednesday after a Lafayette County jury found him guilty of six counts of DUI/manslaughter in the deaths of his five children and an adult family friend last year.
Duane John Sr., 34, of 10270 Road 604, was sentenced to 15 years on each count to run consecutively for a total 90 years.
Fifteen years were suspended leaving 75 to serve.
Judge Marcus Gordon ordered a change of venue in the case this summer.
John was indicted last May in the deaths of his children: Daisyanna John, 9; Duane John Jr., 8; Bobby John, 7; Quinton John, 4; and Kekambas John, 18 months; and family friend Diane Chickaway, 37, of 1017 Fox Trail Road.
The six died on Dec. 29 when the Dodge Durango in which they were traveling in left the roadway and was submerged in a creek near the Neshoba-Newton County line on Road 107 about 20 miles southwest of Philadelphia shortly after 12:30 a.m.
John, the driver, the children's mother, Deanna Jim, 28, of 10270 Road 604, and Dale Chickaway, 37, of 1017 Fox Trail Road, escaped serious injury in the incident.
John was charged two days later after being released from the county hospital where he had been treated for hypothermia.
Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell said it appeared that none of the children were in child restraints and that none of the adults were wearing seat belts.
All of the victims were members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and lived in the Pearl River community.
Daisyanna John, a third grader at Pearl River Elementary School, loved riding her bike and singing.
Her brother, Duane Jr., also in the third grade, loved to play games on his Playstation and ride his bike.
Bobby, 7, and Quinton, 4, loved to play the drums and play together outside.
Bobby was a first grader and Quinton was in pre-kindergarten.
The youngest child, Kekambas, 19 months, loved to play with his toys.