A Wisconsin woman was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree intentional homicide for poisoning her friend with eye drops.
Jessy R. Kurczewski, 39, cried in court in response to a verdict that convicted her of killing Lynn Hernan, 61, five years ago using a fatal dose of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in eye drops. . The jury also found Kurczewski guilty of two counts of felony robbery for robbing Hernan.
Kurczewski, who was listed as one of two beneficiaries in Hernán’s will, was “like a daughter” to Hernán, according to the defense. When the case was opened in 2021Kurczewski initially told investigators that the victim had an obsession with eye drops and had overdosed. He later alleged that Hernán had committed suicide.
Kurczewski called police to Hernan’s home in Pewaukee and said her friend was not breathing. Police found Hernán dead with crushed medication on her chest and on a nearby plate. Kurczewski later told investigators that he brought Hernán a water bottle loaded with six bottles of Visine, claiming that he did not believe he would kill her friend because he had been drinking it for so long.
During the three-week trial, defense attorney Donna Kuchler claimed that Hernan had committed suicide because she was depressed, ill and abusing medication.
“Everyone present at the scene concluded that it was a suicide. Ladies and gentlemen, it was suicide. It looked like suicide,” Kuchler said in his final comments.
But the jury and Judge Jennifer Dorow ultimately agreed with the prosecution’s argument that Kurczewski, motivated by greed, killed Hernán to defraud her of nearly $300,000, including money from her estate.
Hernán’s friend and ex-boyfriend testified during the trial that the 61-year-old woman was frugal and would not have allowed Kurczewski to spend large amounts of her money.
“(The medical examiner) told him, without hesitation, that the poisoning in this case was the work of another. That’s homicide,” Deputy District Attorney Abbey Nickolie said, according to WTMJ, Milwaukee’s NBC affiliate.
Anthony Pozza, a longtime friend of Hernán, told WTMJ that justice had been served.
“When I heard about Lynn’s passing, I immediately knew something was wrong and it wasn’t reality. I thank God every day for the detectives and the district attorney who represented the case,” Pozza said after the trial ended.
Kurczewski’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 7.