South Carolina woman pleads guilty to poisoning husband with eye drops

Lana Sue Clayton admitted to giving her husband drinks laced with eye drops. PHOTO: ST FILE

YORK, SOUTH CAROLINA (AP) - A South Carolina woman pleaded guilty to fatally poisoning her husband by putting eye drops into his water for days. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Lana Sue Clayton, 53, pleaded guilty on Thursday (Jan 16) to voluntary manslaughter and tampering with a food or drug, news outlets reported.

York County detectives said Clayton admitted to giving her husband Steven Clayton drinks laced with Visine. She poisoned him with Visine for three days in July 2018 before the poison eventually caused his death, prosecutors said.

Clayton said her husband was abusive and she didn't mean to kill him.

"I did impulsively put the Visine in Steven's drink, but I just did it to make him uncomfortable," Clayton said in court. "I never thought it would kill him."

She was originally charged with murder but accepted a plea deal.

Her lawyers in court said Clayton was a good person having worked as a Veterans Affairs nurse in Charlotte. They said she was abused as a child, raped on a military base and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. She attempted to kill herself during the investigation in August 2018.

Court records show the couple lived on property worth more than US$1 million (S$1.35 million) and Mr Clayton, 64, has over a US$1 million in other assets. He was a retired businessman from Florida.

Clayton knew the Visine would kill her husband and continued to poison him, prosecutors said. They accused her of destroying his will so she could inherit his money.

"How can you maintain you did this to teach him a lesson, when it is obvious from the facts that you let him suffer for three days," Judge Paul Burch told Clayton in court. "You ignored him."

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