Trial of Accused Eye Drop Killer Begins

( — The trial of 39-year-old Jessy Kurczewski started on October 24 in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Kurczewski is suspected of murdering 62-year-old Lynn Hernan, who was a long-time friend of both her and her mother, Jennifer Flower. The attorney for the defense, Pablo Galaviz, said Kurczewski had known Hernan since she was a child and that she’d been taking care of her since her health had begun to deteriorate. On Oct. 3, 2018, Kurczewski called 911 after finding her friend “unconscious and not breathing” in her reclining chair. Originally, the case was considered suicide.

However, in January 2019, the Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Hernan had died from a fatal dose of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in eye drops, but far greater than the amount one could get even through reckless overuse. The strange cause of death, in addition to Hernan’s body having been found with prescription bottles found nearby and crushed medication on and around her, led to the case being ruled a homicide, and an investigation was initiated.

Kurczewski was arrested on June 4, 2021, and charged with homicide and theft. Investigators say, in total, Kurczewski stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hernan while she was alive and from her estate since her death. Police have also alleged that Kurczewski has a history of attempted fraud and a gambling problem. Kurczewski’s defense admitted that Kurczewski and Hernan falsified bank documents together. Assistant District Attorney Randy Sitzberger described Hernan as a frugal person who disliked technology. She didn’t own a smartphone or a computer and did not use the internet. She often used cash and paid off her credit cards quickly. He said that her lack of technological proficiency may have made it difficult for her to keep track of her finances in the time leading up to her death.

Kurczewski’s attorney, Galaviz, said that Hernan was fully aware of the money that Kurczewski had been spending. He added that Hernan drank a lot of vodka and was depressed. Kurczewski suggested that Hernan may have staged her own suicide with the crushed pills and then drank Visine in vodka. She alleges that Hernan would “try different doses in water bottles of vodka” and then feel very sick. Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office Detective Timothy Loberg commented that this is a “very unique case”.

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