Eye drop murder: Sentencing delayed, Jessy Kurczewski's lawyers withdraw from case

Jessy Kurczewski
Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 07, 2023

WAUKESHA — The sentencing of convicted killer Jessy Kurczewski has been postponed, and the judge has allowed her defense attorneys to withdraw from the case.

Last month, Kurczewski was convicted of financial fraud and homicide in the death of her family friend, Lynn Hernan. Prosecutors say she stole money from Hernan and poisoned her with eye drops to cover up the theft. The defense said Hernan took her own life.

Sentencing had been scheduled for Thursday, but a 37-year-page letter, recently introduced to the court by the state, has led to a serious delay.

According to the prosecution, the letter is a set of instructions from Kurczewski asking a friend to forge documents and create a fake audio tape. The tape, as described in the letter, would be a false recording of Hernan stating she's suicidal.

Prosecutor Randy Sitzberger said they received the letter in late November after the recipient, concerned with the details, reported it to police.

"We filed appropriate documents with the court when they came to our attention that directly go in our position to Ms. Kurczewski's character," said Sitzberger.

However, Judge Jennifer Dorow said the state made assumptions in determining Kurczewski wrote the letter.

Defense attorneys Pablo Galaviz and Donna Kuchler, after learning about the letter, filed motions to withdraw. Whoever wrote it claims it was the defense attorney's idea to create fake documents and a fake tape.

According to the state, and the defense, part of the letter was also written on the back of trial notes.

"I looked at the filing by the state, contacted the State Bar Ethics, they suggested I should withdraw from the case. That's all I'm going to say," said Defense Attorney Pablo Galaviz.

Kurczewski denied writing the letter and said her attorneys filing to withdraw has hurt her case.

"Nothing has been done for sentencing except last minute yesterday. I have letters of character in limbo. I have nothing completed for sentencing," Kurczewski said to the judge. "There is a lot of issues here. And I need to look at my legal rights."

Judge Dorow said she'd like to learn more about the letter from an ongoing police investigation. She scheduled a hearing for Kurczewski in January to review the status of a new public defender.

Kurczewski faces a mandatory life sentence on the homicide charge and up to ten more years on two fraud charges.