A woman accused of poisoning her husband to death with eye drops then burning his will has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
South Carolina woman Lana Clayton pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter more than a year after she had spiked her husband’s water with Visine until he collapsed inside the couple’s multi-million-dollar home on 21 July 2018.
A post-mortem examination revealed that Stephen Clayton had ingested dangerous levels of tetrahydrozoline, which relieves eye redness by constricting blood vessels.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Police said Lana Clayton admitted to feeding her husband the eye-drops without his knowledge.
In 2016, Clayton shot her husband in the back of the head with a crossbow, which she told police was an accident. She later admitted that she shot him after the couple had an argument.
She told the court that the couple’s “problems escalated through the years … I did impulsively put Visine in Stephen’s drink, and I did it to make him sick and uncomfortable.” She said she “never thought it would kill him”, according to NBC affiliate WCNC.
Clayton was arrested on 31 August 2018 on charges of murder and malicious tampering with a drug product.
Murder convictions in South Carolina can include a death sentence. She avoided the death penalty by agreeing to a guilty plea on a lesser charge of manslaughter.
York County prosecutors said Clayton, a nurse at a US Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Charlotte, wanted her husband to “suffer” and to “teach him a lesson” following claims that her husband of five years was abusive. Mr Clayton had suffered for three days after drinking poisoned water until he fell from a staircase.
Her defence lawyers argued that she survived violent abuse at the hands of Mr Clayton.
“I wanted him to leave me alone”, she told the court.
Prosecutors argued that she destroyed his will to ensure that she would inherit his wealth after his death.
Court records revealed that Clayton also left a suicide note after she tried to kill herself before her arrest by taking pills and turning on a gas stove.