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Milwaukee-area woman accused of poisoning friend with eyedrops

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Posted at 9:49 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 09:49:01-04

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Prosecutors have accused a suburban Milwaukee woman of killing her friend by poisoning her with eyedrops.

Jessy Kurczewski, 37, of Franklin was charged Friday with homicide and two counts of felony theft.

"The state believes that defendant has evidenced her capacity to take advantage of at-risk individuals and poses a risk to the public both through her financial victimization and ultimately violent behavior toward Victim A in this case," said Abbey Nickolie, an attorney who appeared on behalf of the State of Wisconsin.

According to a criminal complaint, the case began in 2018 when Kurczewski called the police and said her friend was not breathing. A deputy arrived at the Pewaukee home and found a woman with "a large amount of crushed medication on her chest and on a nearby plate," along with prescription medications around her.

Initially, investigators believed it could be a drug overdose.

The complaint stated that Kurczewski told investigators she had been taking care of her friend who was "acting odd" leading up to her death and believed she was suicidal.

However, witnesses and people who knew the victim told law enforcement things were not adding up and they had concerns about the validity of the victim leaving her estate to Kurczewski, who has a history of forgery and fraud.

In January of 2019, the medical examiner said a toxicology report showed a lethal amount of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in eye drops, in the victim's blood. The medical examiner reported the cause of death was a homicide, not a suicide or an accident.

Jessy Kurczewski

Months later, Kurczewski said she brought her friend a water bottle holding six bottles worth of Visine and her friend drank it. Kurczewski claimed she was helping her friend do what she wanted.

Detectives also learned that Kurczewski fraudulently transferred more than $130,000 by check from the victim's accounts to her own.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Kurczewski. The court commissioner maintained Kurczewski's $1 million bail.

Kurczewski's next court date was set for June 25.

This story was originally published by Mary Joe Ola and includes contributions from The Associated Press.