A woman has been found guilty of murder after poisoning her friend with eye drops in Wisconsin.
Jessy Kurczewski, 39, of Franklin, Wisconsin, was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of theft in connection with the death of Lynn Hernan.
The beautician was found dead at her home in Pewaukee in October 2018, with crushed medication on her chest, according to a criminal complaint.
At the time, Kurczewski, who was described as “like a daughter” to Ms Hernan by the defence, had called police and said her friend wasn’t conscious or breathing. She had said there was a possibility the 61-year-old was suicidal.
A coroner ruled Ms Hernan’s death as suspected murder after discovering tetrahydrozoline in her system, an ingredient used in some over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays.
If swallowed, tetrahydrozoline can lead to toxic blood levels.
The drug passes quickly through the gastrointestinal tract, reaching the blood and the central nervous system, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Initially claiming that Ms Hernan must have staged her own suicide, Kurczewski later revealed to police that she had brought her friend a contaminated water bottle.
She said the water contained six bottles worth of a common US eye drop brand, the complaint read, but alleged that she did not think it would kill Ms Hernan because she had been drinking it for so long.
Police also concluded that Kurczewski, who was one of two beneficiaries in Ms Hernan’s will, had stolen $290,000 (£233,000) from her.
During the three-week trial, Donna Kuchler, defending Kurczewski, claimed Ms Hernan had committed suicide because she was depressed, sick and abusing medication.
“Everyone at the scene concluded it was suicide. Ladies and gentlemen, it was a suicide. It looked like a suicide,” she said during her closing remarks.
But the jury and Judge Jennifer Dorow sided with the prosecution’s argument that Kurczewski, motivated by greed, killed Ms Hernan in an attempt to defraud her.
Kurczewski is set to be sentenced on 7 December. The homicide charge carries a mandatory life sentence and the theft charges each carry a maximum of five years.