A Wisconsin woman accused of poisoning her friend with eye drops became emotional when the defense showed photos of the two in court and said the victim thought of her as a daughter.
Jessy Kurczewski, 39, is on trial in Waukesha County, where she faces first-degree murder and two counts of felony theft in the 2018 death of 62-year-old Lynn Hernan.
Prosecutors allege Ms Kurczewski used eye drops to poison the woman she was caring for and staged the scene to look like a suicide by drug overdose. Ms. Kurczewski is also accused of stealing $290,210 from her. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
During opening statements on Tuesday, defense lawyer Pablo Galaviz tried to tug on jurors' strings by showing photos of his client posing with Hernan over the years, explaining that they had known each other since Ms. Kurczewski was a child.
But it was Mrs Kurczewski who broke down in tears as the pictures flashed across the screen. One was from her high school graduation party hosted by Hernan, who was a friend of Mrs. Kurczewski's mother. Another showed them posing for the camera with their arms wrapped around each other.
“If Lynn Hernan were here today, she would say, ‘You're crazy, DA. That's my daughter over there,” Mr. Galaviz said, pointing to Ms. Kurczewski at the defense table. “This was for Lynn, her daughter, and she loved her.”
Hernan died on October 3, 2018. Police responded to her home in Pewaukee after a call from Ms. Kurczewski who found her unconscious. Responding officers found Hernan on a recliner with crushed drugs on her chest, according to a criminal complaint.
Investigators initially thought he had overdosed, but Ms Kurczewski told them there was a “possibility” Hernan had taken his own life. However, other people who knew her told authorities they did not believe she would “intentionally or unintentionally overdose.”
Hernan's death was believed to be a drug overdose, but it was later ruled a homicide when the Waukesha County Coroner determined she had a fatal amount of tetrahydrozoline in her system.
When investigators told Kurczewski that it was tetrahydrozoline that killed her friend and that the scene was staged to look like a suicide, she said that was what her friend wanted and that she must have staged her own suicide. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel mentionted.
Ms. Kurczewski later revealed to investigators that she had given her friend a bottle of water mixed with six bottles of Visine. She said she didn't think it would kill her friend because she had been drinking it for so long.
During several interviews with the police, Ms. Kurczewski had told them that she had brought Hernan a bottle of water with Visine at her request. She said her friend was known to buy a large volume of eye drops and drank Visine with vodka before her death.
Investigators later discovered that Ms. Kurczewski had committed nearly $300,000 in fraud, according to the criminal complaint, including a $130,204 check that was “fraudulently transferred” from the victim to herself.
She told investigators she was acting as a power of attorney and that Hernan had no immediate family, but a cousin told authorities it was suspected she had left her entire estate to Ms. Kurczewski.
He now faces charges of first-degree murder, theft of movable property valued at more than $100,000 and theft of movable property valued between $10,000 and $100,000, according to online court records.
The murder trial began Monday morning with jury selection by Judge Jennifer Dorrow, who oversaw the Waukesha parade massacre trial of Darrell Brooks. Opening statements began Tuesday afternoon. The trial is expected to last a month.