A woman from Wisconsin, Jessy Kurczewski, was convicted on Tuesday of first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly adding a lethal dose of eye drops to her friend’s water bottle. The jury, after two days of deliberation, found the 39-year-old guilty on all charges, including intentional homicide and theft.
Kurczewski tearfully reacted as the verdict was announced in the Waukesha County court. The charges stemmed from the 2018 death of 62-year-old Lynn Hernan, who was discovered deceased in her Pewaukee residence.
Additionally, Kurczewski faced allegations of defrauding Hernan of almost $300,000 in the two years preceding her demise, as outlined in the criminal complaint.
Despite the charges, Kurczewski entered a plea of not guilty to first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of felony theft.
On October 3, 2018, Hernan was discovered unconscious in her living room recliner beside a table strewn with prescription pills, some of which seemed to be crushed on her chest, as detailed in a police report.
Initially classified as a drug overdose, Kurczewski, identified as Hernan’s friend and caregiver, contacted the police to report finding her unresponsive and without signs of breathing, according to the complaint. Allegedly, Kurczewski informed the police that she suspected Hernan’s health conditions had led to suicidal thoughts.
Approximately three months following Hernan’s death, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office resumed the investigation upon the revelation of a toxicological report indicating a lethal quantity of tetrahydrozoline, the primary component in over-the-counter eye drops, in Hernan’s system, as outlined in the criminal complaint.
Kurczewski was arrested and formally charged in June 2021.
According to ABC News, throughout the extensive trial spanning several weeks, the prosecution contended that Kurczewski stood as one of the recipients outlined in Hernan’s will, asserting that, in the defendant’s perspective, “Lynn Hernan became worth more dead than alive.”
In contrast, the defence argued against the notion that Kurczewski poisoned Hernan.
“She just liked vodka. She also liked Visine. I have no idea why,” defence attorney Pablo Galaviz said of Hernan during opening statements last month.
The prosecutors expressed they were satisfied with the guilty verdict, and said the medical examiner’s work provided “vital evidence” in the case.
“The defendant betrayed Lynn out of greed,” Waukesha County Deputy District Attorney Abbey Nickolie told reporters following the verdict. “This case highlighted the financial vulnerability of the victim and what a person would do to get what they want.”