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48 Hours: Death By Eye Drops

Jessy Kurczewski went on trial for the intentional homicide of Lynn Hernan, along with two counts of felony theft for stealing from Hernan. Five years earlier, Kurczewski called the police and told them she found Hernan dead, sitting in her recliner, in the living room of her Pewaukee, Wis., condo.

48 Hours: Death By Eye Drops

Kurczewski told investigators she had been helping take care of her friend, who had been struggling with health problems. Almost three years later, she was charged with poisoning that friend with eye drops.

Contributor Jericka Duncan reports in 48 HOURS: “Death by Eye Drops,” to be broadcast Saturday, April 20 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+.

Stephanie Rodriguez, who covered the trial for the CBS affiliate in Milwaukee, tells 48 HOURS, “Jessy took care of Lynn during the last year of life … Jessy was like an adopted daughter to Lynn … Jessy and Lynn were very close.”

Anthony Pozza, a friend of Hernan’s, says her health problems had become increasingly frustrating for her. Pozza tells Duncan, “She was going to like doctor after doctor, and then she’d call me and say, ‘They can’t find anything wrong with me.’”

At trial, a first responder testified to finding multiple medications bottles within arm’s reach of Hernan, along with what appeared to be an unknown, powdery substance left behind on a plate.

Pozza recalls a phone call with Kurczewski where he says she told him, “It looks like Lynn you know … committed suicide.”

Toxicology reports revealed Hernan had something very unusual in her blood. The medical examiner found tetrahydrozoline in Hernan’s system, an active ingredient in eye drops that, when ingested, can be fatal. Prosecutors claimed Kurczewski stole from Hernan while she was alive, then poisoned Hernan for what was left of her money.

At trial, the defense contended this wasn’t a homicide at all, arguing that Hernan wanted to die because she was tired of being sick. In the defense’s opening, they stated, “Lynn loved Jessy. If Lynn Hernan was here today she would say, ‘Are you crazy, prosecution?’ … Jessy’s innocent.”

Judy Tygard is the executive producer of 48 HOURS, which is broadcast Saturdays at 10:00 PM, ET/PT on CBS, and streams anytime on Paramount+. You can also watch 48 HOURS on the CBS News Streaming Network Wednesdays at 8:00 PM, ET. 48 HOURS is also available on, Fave TV, Pop TV, Pluto US, Pluto UK, Pluto Nordics, Pluto Canada and Pluto South Africa. Download the CBS News app on your phone or connected TV. Follow 48 HOURS on XFacebook and Instagram. Listen to podcasts at CBS Audio.


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