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Eye drop murder trial: Jury finds Jessy Kurczewski guilty

Jurors returned a guilty verdict in the homicide trial of Jessy Kurczewski, a Franklin woman accused of killing a family friend by poisoning her with eye drops.
Posted at 2:00 PM, Nov 14, 2023

WAUKESHA — Jurors returned a guilty verdict in the homicide trial of Jessy Kurczewski, a Franklin woman accused of killing a family friend by poisoning her with eye drops.

The jury deliberated for nearly 11 hours, beginning Monday, before a verdict was entered just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Kurczewski, 39, wept openly as Judge Jennifer Dorow read through the guilty counts, one of first-degree intentional homicide and two of felony theft.

Prosecutors accused her of killing 61-year-old Lynn Hernan five years ago. Kurczewski was Hernan's caregiver and one of only two people named in Hernan's will. Prosecutors say the alleged crime was motivated by greed, claiming Kurczewski defrauded Heran out of more than $200,000.

"Ultimately [the medical examiner] told you, without hesitation, the poisoning in this case was at the hand of another. That's what homicide is," said Deputy District Attorney Abbie Nicoklie in closings on Monday.

The defense argued that Kurczewski was like a daughter to Hernan. Attorneys have also said Hernan was depressed, sick, abusing medication, and took her own life.

"When somebody takes too many pills, the combination together can create exactly what happened here," said Defense Attorney Donna Kuchler in her closing remarks. "Everyone at the scene concluded it was suicide. Ladies and gentlemen, it was a suicide. It looked like a suicide."