In a dramatic courtroom conclusion on Tuesday, a woman from Wisconsin, Jessy Kurczewski, 39, was declared guilty of first-degree intentional homicide after being accused of poisoning her friend with a fatal dose of over-the-counter eye drops. This verdict came after a two-day deliberation by the jury, who found Kurczewski guilty of theft.
The case revolves around the demise of 62-year-old Lynn Hernan, a close friend of Kurczewski, who was discovered dead in her Pewaukee home in 2018. Besides the murder, Kurczewski was also implicated in defrauding Hernan of close to $300,000 in the two years before her death.
Despite pleading not guilty to first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of felony theft, Kurczewski was visibly emotional at the pronouncement of the guilty verdict in Waukesha County court.
The circumstances surrounding Hernan’s death were initially attributed to a drug overdose. She was discovered in an unconscious state on October 3, 2018, sitting in her living room chair with an array of prescription pills and what seemed like crushed medication scattered on her chest. Kurczewski, who was also Hernan’s caregiver, had reported finding her friend unresponsive and had speculated that Hernan’s deteriorating health conditions had potentially led her to suicide.
However, the case took a dramatic turn when Hernan’s toxicology report indicated the presence of a lethal dose of tetrahydrozoline, a common ingredient in eye drops. This prompted the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office to reopen the case, leading to Kurczewski’s arrest in June 2021.
Throughout the trial, the prosecution painted a picture of Kurczewski as a beneficiary of Hernan’s will, suggesting a motive for the crime. They proposed that “Lynn Hernan became worth more being dead than staying alive” to Kurczewski. The defense, however, maintained that Kurczewski did not poison Hernan.
Upon the guilty verdict, the prosecution expressed satisfaction, praising the medical examiner’s crucial contribution to the case evidence. Waukesha County Deputy District Attorney Abbey Nickolie spoke out against Kurczewski’s actions, stating that the case highlighted the financial vulnerability of the victim and the lengths a person would go to achieve their desires.
The defense refrained from speaking to the press post-verdict. Kurczewski now awaits sentencing and faces a mandatory life imprisonment. Anthony Pozza, a family friend and another beneficiary of Hernan’s will, said to the press, “It’s been five years of stress. I’m just glad we finally have justice.”