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Wisconsin woman accused of murdering friend with eyedrops

The woman was listed as the "beneficiary" of the victim's estate and received $130,000 fraudulently, prosecutors alleged.
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A Milwaukee-area woman accused of poisoning her friend with eyedrops was in court Monday after being charged with homicide and felony theft.

Jessy R. Kurczewski was ordered held on $1 million bond during the hearing, according to court records. She was listed in custody Monday at Waukesha County Correctional Facilities.

"The state believes that defendant has evidenced her capacity to take advantage of at-risk individuals and poses a risk to the public," said Abbey Nickolie, an attorney who appeared on behalf of the state.

Prosecutors allege Kurczewski, of Franklin, Wisconsin, killed the unnamed victim Oct. 3, 2018 with a fatal dose of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in eyedrops. The death was initially thought to be a drug overdose, but prosecutors later said it was staged to look that way, including crushed medication on the victim's chest and a plate nearby.

Authorities said it would be difficult to get a fatal dose of tetrahydrozoline through the eyes, but it wasn't clear how the victim ingested the toxin.

Kurczewski told investigators that she was caring for the victim, whom she said had an obsession with eyedrops. The victim would be 65 if she was still alive, according to court records.

Kurczewski changed her story to claim she had helped the victim commit suicide after she learned that investigators didn't believe the death was an overdose, prosecutors said.

Kurczewski told investigators she brought her friend a water bottle loaded with six bottles’ worth of Visine. She didn’t think it would kill her friend because she had been drinking it for so long, she told officials, according to prosecutors.

It wasn't clear if Kurczewski has an attorney; the state public defender's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

A probate case involving Kurczewski seeks to remove her as a "beneficiary" of the victim's estate. Prosecutors say more than $130,000 was transferred from the victim to Kurczewski "fraudulently" by check.

Kurczewski is due to return to court June 25.

In granting $1 million bail, the judge in the case wrote that, if released, the defendant should have "No use/possession of over-the-counter eye drops."