A Wisconsin woman was found guilty of fatally poisoning her longtime friend with eye drops and then staging her death to look like a suicide while stealing nearly $300,000 from the dead woman.
Jessy Kurczewski, 39, confessed to dumping six bottles of Visine into a water bottle which she then gave to Lynn Hernan in 2018 — claiming Hernan was suicidal and requested the tainted water.
But a Waukesha grand jury on Tuesday didn’t buy Kurczewski’s account and found her guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of theft in connection to her death.
Hernan was found dead with crushed medication on her chest in her Pewaukee condo on Oct. 3, 2018. Kurczewski called 911 and said her family friend was not breathing and believed she may have been suicidal.
Though the scene was made to look like a suicide by overdose, the Waukesha County medical examiner discovered tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in Visine, in her system and declared her death a homicide.
While Kurczewski appeared to be a caring friend, reportedly checking on Hernan daily, she was actually opening credit cards in the dead woman’s name and draining her bank account.
“She didn’t spend the day worried about Lynn. She was opening a JC Penney account in Lynn’s name, and she was using other accounts of Lynn to go shopping, do some online shopping, while she knew she just had given Lynn poison,” Waukesha County Asst. District Attorney Randy Sitzberger said, according to WISN 12 News.
“Lynn Hernan became worth more dead than alive to Jessy Kurczewski,” he added.
Kurczewski was arrested nearly a year after Hernan’s death when investigators discovered she had stolen $290,000 from her.
She maxed out her own credit cards and suspiciously received several large checks — including one for over $130,000 — from Hernan before the killing, prosecutors said, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“Lynn gave Jessy money all the time because she wanted to,” her defense attorney Donna Kuchler said, according to the outlet. “Giving money to Jessy made her happy. Jessy was like her daughter.”
Investigators also discovered that Kurczewski had searched for “household poisons” according to a deleted search history on her phone, according to WISN.
Kurczewski sobbed as the jury’s decision was read out loud in court Tuesday afternoon, courtroom video shows.
She faces mandatory life in prison for the homicide charge and will be sentenced on Dec. 7.
Prosecutors said she killed the woman she claimed to have a mother-daughter relationship with over money.
“The defendant betrayed Lynn out of greed,” Deputy District Attorney Abbey Nickolie said following the verdict.
With Post wires