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Woman from Wisconsin Sentenced to Life in Prison for Fatally Poisoning Friend with Eye Drops

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A woman from Wisconsin, Jessy Kurczewski, has been handed a life sentence, with the possibility of parole, after being found guilty of murdering her friend Lynn Hernan with an overdose of eye drops in October 2018. Kurczewski, aged 40 and hailing from Franklin, was also convicted of two counts of felony theft. The murder was committed as an attempt to cover up her theft of nearly $300,000 from Hernan, a 62-year-old resident of Pewaukee.

During the sentencing on Friday, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow imposed the maximum five-year sentence for each theft charge, to be served consecutively. Additionally, Kurczewski received a minimum of 30 years for the murder conviction, ensuring that she will not be eligible for parole for a minimum of 40 years. Judge Dorow emphasized that Kurczewski’s eligibility for parole would extend well beyond the age at which Hernan was tragically killed.

The court proceedings revealed that Kurczewski had alerted emergency services on October 3, 2018, upon discovering Hernan unconscious in her residence. Hernan was found in a recliner surrounded by crushed pills and various medication containers. Despite Kurczewski’s initial claims of assisting Hernan as a family friend during her health struggles, the medical examiner’s report confirmed that Hernan’s death was caused by a lethal dose of tetrahydrozoline, a key ingredient in Visine eye drops.

Suspicion intensified when Kurczewski displayed an unusual level of interest in Hernan’s toxicology results. Further investigations unveiled a significant decline in Hernan’s financial status due to unauthorized credit card expenditures and suspicious transactions, including checks made out to Kurczewski for substantial sums and a loan acquired under Hernan’s name.

The prosecution contended that Kurczewski had manipulated Hernan’s finances through forged checks and unauthorized credit card usage. Kurczewski initially suggested that Hernan might have ingested the eye drops voluntarily with alcohol, but later confessed to administering a water bottle infused with six bottles of Visine to Hernan. Kurczewski claimed she had witnessed Hernan consuming Visine-laced beverages previously and believed it would not be fatal.

Despite Kurczewski’s persistent claims of innocence and allegations of an unfair trial due to ineffective legal representation, Judge Dorow dismissed these assertions. Dorow firmly stated that Kurczewski’s actions were premeditated, aiming to exploit Hernan’s vulnerability and evade detection.

In conclusion, the court upheld Kurczewski’s conviction for murder and theft, underscoring the severity of her crimes and the irreversible loss suffered by the victim’s loved ones.