In October 2023, within the courtroom of Judge Jennifer Dorow, 39-year-old Jessy Kurczewski went on trial for the intentional murder of 62-year-old Lynn Hernan, together with two counts of felony theft for stealing from Hernan — somebody who’d all the time considered Kurczewski as a beloved buddy.

Five years earlier, Kurczewski known as police and advised them she discovered Hernan lifeless, sitting in her recliner, in the lounge of her Pewaukee, Wisconsin apartment. Kurczewski  had been caring for Hernan, who had critical medical issues.

THE TRIAL OF JESSY KURCZEWSKI

The prosecutors for Waukesha County had been Deputy District Attorney Abbey Nickolie and Assistant District Attorneys J.J. Crawford and Randy Sitzberger.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): Good afternoon, everybody. … So, that is Wisconsin versus Jessy Kurczewski. Said in any other case, this can be a case of homicide, greed and lies. … you are going to see that, in or about October 3, 2018, Lynn Hernan turned value extra lifeless than alive to Kurczewski .

Stephanie Rodriguez: Prosecutors advised the jury … that this case was about somebody who wished cash.

Stephanie Rodriguez lined the trial for the CBS affiliate in Milwaukee.

Stephanie Rodriguez: And prosecutors mentioned … that that is why she was caring for her. Not as a result of she genuinely cared, however that Jessy wished the cash in her checking account.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): Between January of ’16 and October 3 of 2018, Ms. Kurczewski  was capable of steal $144,000-plus from Lynn Hernan whereas she was nonetheless alive.

Stephanie Rodriguez: And then she wished Lynn lifeless to get the cash from her property.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): Lynn Hernan was … lifeless at solely 62 years previous from a tetrahydrozoline poisoning after the defendant gave her a bottle laced with Visine eye drops to drink.

Jessy Kurczewski, left, and Lynn Hernan
Jessy Kurczewski, left, and Lynn Hernan

Wisconsin Department of Corrections/Court Pool of Defense Opening Statement


But the protection introduced Kurczewski as a detailed buddy who took care of Hernan — who they claimed was depressed about her declining well being.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): This case is extraordinarily essential to Jessy. … She’s presumed harmless. … And do not ever let that thought depart your thoughts, that she’s presumed harmless.

At trial, Kurczewski was represented by protection attorneys Pablo Galaviz and Donna Kuchler.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): Here’s an image of Lynn and Jessy, a commencement social gathering that Lynn threw for Jessy, highschool.

At the point out of her shut relationship with Hernan, Kurczewski instantly teared up.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): “This is my daughter,” she’s so proud …

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): That’s who Jessy is to Lynn, her daughter …

Kurczewski had identified Hernan since childhood, by her mom, Jennifer Flower.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): Jennifer’s like her greatest, greatest buddy. And Jessy turned her greatest, greatest buddy.

Hernan, who labored most of her life as a hairdresser, by no means married, and lived alone. Then, within the two years earlier than her loss of life, her well being quickly declined.

Stephanie Rodriguez: There had been instances the place Lynn would fall in her dwelling, and Jessy must go and assist her stand up.

Hernan additionally had lung illness, hypertension and extreme gastrointestinal points which medical doctors had been by no means capable of absolutely diagnose. She had been out and in of the hospital a number of instances within the 12 months earlier than she died.

Stephanie Rodriguez: Jessy was all the time with Lynn as a result of she turned her full-time caretaker, basically. … Jessy would do the grocery looking for Lynn. Jessy paid Lynn’s payments.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): Jessy was the one particular person she trusted.

The protection advised the jury that as Hernan’s well being additional deteriorated, she turned despondent.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): And you noticed the way in which she was accomplished up with the hair and nails and jewellery, she did not appear like that anymore. …  She did not need any extra guests as a result of she did not look, in her thoughts, the identical.

The protection argued that on Oct. 3, 2018, Hernan was bored with being sick, and determined to take her personal life.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): When they arrived on the scene … They discovered loads of empty prescription bottles. … And they cannot see that as a suicide? … She’s harmless. Find her not responsible.

One of the primary orders of enterprise for prosecutors was to determine the reason for loss of life. Former Waukesha County Deputy Medical Examiner Tabitha Kukes talked to jurors about these photos she took when she arrived at Hernan’s apartment.

hernan-prescriptions.jpg
A photograph of Lynn Hernan’s prescription bottles that had been on a desk subsequent to her recliner. First responders on the scene mentioned it seemed like Hernan had presumably died from an unintentional overdose, or by taking her personal life. 

Waukesha County Circuit Courts


TABITHA KUKES (in court docket): This is a closeup of the treatment bottles that had been on to her left … There’s further drugs which can be current, some with out their caps on.

Kukes had photographed a number of drugs scattered on the carpet, in addition to a white powder on a plate, and on Hernan’s chest. Defense legal professional Kuchler suggests the powder was spilled by Hernan herself.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): Jessy advised you it was frequent for Lynn to crush drugs due to her issues swallowing.

TABITHA KUKES: That’s what she advised me.

Jurors heard from Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lynda Biedrzycki who testified about these images taken in Hernan’s lounge. She mentioned the drugs and powder scattered on the scene did level to a possible suicide.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI (in court docket): There was a thought that possibly there was a — an ingestion was a risk for the reason for loss of life.

But earlier than saying the reason for loss of life, Dr. Biedrzycki waited to see the outcomes from the toxicology assessments. When she obtained them weeks later, she was in for a shock.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI (in court docket): There was a substance that I used to be — uncommon … an uncommon discovering that I hadn’t seen in a report from their, uh, facility earlier than. It was, uh, known as tetrahydrozoline.

Dr. Biedrzycki started her personal analysis on tetrahydrozoline, a drug present in some over-the-counter eye drops.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI (in court docket): This is a, um, a substance that I have not seen in a toxicology report earlier than. … it is not alleged to be within the blood.

But how did it get there?

DEATH BY EYE DROPS

Medical Examiner Dr. Lynda Biedrzycki advised the jury it was in late September 2019, nearly a 12 months after Lynn Hernan’s loss of life, that she printed her official conclusion about how Hernan died.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI: The explanation for loss of life I decided was tetrahydrozoline poisoning.

And Biedrzycki dominated that Hernan didn’t intentionally drink a deadly dose of eye drops.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI:  How this damage occurred is that she was given tetrahydrozoline by one other, which is why I known as it a murder.

Stephanie Rodriguez: The perception that Lynn Hernan was given tetrahydrozoline by one other exhibits that she was given this unsuspectingly. She did not know that she was ingesting tetrahydrozoline when she did it.

The protection challenged the health worker’s findings.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): These are all of the medicine that had been present in Ms. Hernan … proper?

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI: Correct.

Stephanie Rodriguez: Toxicology reviews confirmed that Lynn had not less than eight prescribed drugs in her system, a few of which Lynn was not alleged to be taking on the time as a result of these drugs had been discontinued by Lynn’s medical doctors.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): And these had been all in her blood, which implies they’d already been ingested and made it into the blood stream.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI: True.

Biedrzycki mentioned that in her willpower, these drugs, together with a few of Hernan’s medical situations, contributed to however didn’t cause Hernan’s loss of life.

Stephanie Rodriguez: The drugs present in Lynn’s physique had been all at therapeutic ranges.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): Your conclusion was that she died from the tetrahydrozoline, proper?

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI: That — Yes.

But the protection requested how may the health worker be so sure Hernan didn’t ingest the attention drops on her personal?

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): You do not know as you sit there at present whether or not she voluntarily ingested that.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI: It was my opinion she did not, however data of her motion, no.

DONNA KUCHLER: You weren’t there.

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI: I wasn’t there.

On redirect, Deputy D.A. Nickolie requested concerning the powder discovered on and close to Hernan’s physique.

ABBEY NICKOLIE (in court docket): What do you suppose occurred?

DR. LYNDA BIEDRZYCKI: I feel that they might have been deposited there.

Stephanie Rodriguez: The health worker believed that Lynn Hernan’s physique was staged to appear like an overdose, as a result of … toxicology reviews confirmed that not one of the crushed up treatment that was discovered on Lynn Hernan and subsequent to her was really in her system.

The following day, the jury heard from a few of Hernan’s associates.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): Did you realize Lynn Hernan?

JIM KELLIHER: Yes, I did.

Jim Kelliher met Lynn Hernan at a music pageant in 1983, when she was 27.

Jericka Duncan: What was your first impression?

Jim Kelliher: That a girl that seemed that good would not exit with me (laughs).

Lynn Hernan
Lynn Hernan

Jim Kelliher


But Hernan mentioned sure and their romantic relationship lasted 10 years. Even after it ended, they remained shut associates.

Jim Kelliher: Lynn was an exquisite woman. … in and out, she was stunning.

Kelliher says he by no means met Kurczewski  till proper after Hernan died.

Jim Kelliher: I get a cellphone name from Jessy and she or he says, I’ve some unhealthy information. Lynn … dedicated suicide. … and by the way in which, uh, we’re gonna have a dinner for her on the thirteenth on the Open Flame Restaurant.

Jericka Duncan: She mentioned in a single sentence —

Jim Kelliher: Correct.

Jericka Duncan: — your pricey buddy died by suicide.

Jim Kelliher: Right.

Jericka Duncan: The subsequent sentence, she tells you there’s gonna be a dinner in her reminiscence.

Jim Kelliher: Right …

Jericka Duncan: What did you make of that?

Jim Kelliher: Well, I did not — I sort of did not imagine her proper off the bat. She wasn’t crying.

On the stand, Kelliher says he did not imagine Hernan would have taken her personal life.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): Did you ever hear Lynn say something to you about pondering of killing herself?

JIM KELLIHER: No, I didn’t. … She … by no means, by no means gave me the indication of suicidal. Never.

He mentioned that regardless of her rising frustration along with her well being issues, Hernan would nonetheless go to him and his girlfriend at their dwelling.

JIM KELLIHER (in court docket): She’d convey treats and stuff … She would say she acquired abdomen aches or no matter, and she or he would all the time depart.

But the protection questioned whether or not Kelliher actually knew a lot about Hernan’s well being struggles. In the final 12 months of Hernan’s life, she’d been out and in of the hospital, discharged the ultimate time simply 5 days earlier than her loss of life.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): Did you provide to go over there and maintain her cat when she was within the hospital?

JIM KELLIHER: No, I didn’t …

PABLO GALAVIZ:  You did not go go to her — ?

JIM KELLIHER: No, I didn’t.

Prosecutors additionally known as Koreen Pozza.

Koreen Pozza: We are greatest associates for about 35-plus years.

And they known as Koreen Pozza’s son Anthony Pozza, who says he all the time had a particular bond with Hernan since childhood.

Jericka Duncan: What did you name Lynn?

Anthony Pozza: Auntie Lynnie.

Anthony Pozza says he stayed near Hernan, often dropping by her apartment whereas he attended school close by.

Anthony Pozza: I liked doing stuff along with her. … you realize, thrift retailer purchasing … you realize, that was a date we’d go on is go thrift retailer purchasing.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket):  Do you recall when the final … dialog you had with Lynn was?

ANTHONY POZZA: The final time I noticed Lynn was a month earlier than she handed away,

Anthony Pozza testified that regardless of her medical troubles, Hernan gave the impression to be enhancing.

ANTHONY POZZA (in court docket): She mentioned she was beginning to really feel higher, and … and she or he’s like … I’m fin — you realize, I’m glad I’m getting out once more, and, you realize, we have to do that extra usually.

Prosecutors requested Waukesha County Sheriff’s Detective Chris Kohl about his investigation into Hernan’s loss of life.

ABBEY NICKOLIE (in court docket): Did you converse with Ms. Kurczewski  in regard to this loss of life investigation?

DET. CHRIS KOHL: Yes. … She contacted our workplace on the lookout for an replace.

hernan-jessy-mom.jpg
Jessy Kurczewski, left, got here to the sheriff’s division along with her mom asking questions 5 months after Hernan’s loss of life — however earlier than the health worker had dominated on the reason for loss of life.

Waukesha County Circuit Courts


Prosecutors launched video of that assembly with Detective Kohl. He testified that 5 months after Hernan died, earlier than the health worker had dominated on the reason for loss of life, Kurczewski got here to the sheriff’s division along with her mom, Jennifer Flower, asking questions.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI  (police interview): You know, once I talked to the health worker final, um, properly, I talked to them quite a few instances … And they mentioned, I needed to contact you guys … they kinda like, weren’t certain we — did not know if it was a suicide or if it was one thing medical …

DET. CHRIS KOHL: So, at this level, I imply, they’re ready for his or her — their secondary, their — they name ’em confirming assessments.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI : Yeah.

During that interview,  Kohl came upon extra about Kurczewski’s relationship with Hernan.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI (police interview): She was like an aunt, a second mother to me. She did not have youngsters.

DET. CHRIS KOHL: So you’ve got identified her your entire life? And that is kinda — that is why you had been serving to her out?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Yeah.

Kurczewski mentioned she was nearly the one particular person nonetheless in Hernan’s life earlier than she died.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI  (police interview): She just about blew everyone off attainable ultimately. …  she’d say ‘No, I do not need to see anyone.’

According to Kurczewski and her mom, Hernan was so withdrawn she didn’t need to speak to her buddy Jim Kelliher when he known as.

JENNIFER FLOWER (police interview): She mentioned, “Do not inform him. I do not need him right here. I do not need to see him.”

JESSY KURCZEWSKI  (police interview): She did not like the way in which she seemed, so she did not need folks round.

But that is not how Kelliher remembers what occurred when he and his girlfriend known as Hernan’s quantity.

Jim Kelliher: Well, this woman answered the cellphone, and she or he was sort of mouthing off to us, “do not use this cellphone, do not name this quantity ever once more, don’t fret about Lynn.” …

Jericka Duncan: And you are pondering what?

Jim Kelliher: I gotta discover out from Lynn what is going on on.

Just a few days later, Kelliher says Hernan known as him from the hospital, and so they agreed to make plans to get collectively when she went dwelling.

Jim Kelliher: And that is the final time that I heard Lynn’s voice.

As they tried to make sense of her loss of life, Hernan’s associates say they recalled her speaking about one thing else that was troubling her — one thing that had nothing to do along with her well being.

Anthony Pozza: She would speak about her cash … “‘it is disappearing.”

Jim Kelliher: She simply mentioned, “I do not know what’s occurring to my cash.”

MISSING MONEY AND A CRIMINAL RECORD

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): Did Ms. Kurczewski  inform you who could be answerable for dealing with Lynn’s property?

ANTHONY POZZA: Yeah, she mentioned she was appointed energy of legal professional.

As the prosecution turned to the fees that Kurczewski stole cash from Hernan, they requested Anthony Pozza about his communications with Kurczewski within the months after Hernan’s loss of life.

ANTHONY POZZA (in court docket):  I’d simply test up with Jessy each every so often through textual content and ask her if she wanted any assist.

Hernan left a will she had drawn up in 2016 which named Kurczewski  as private consultant, Wisconsin’s equal of an executor. Kurczewski and Anthony Pozza had been co-beneficiaries. When Kurczewski despatched Anthony Pozza some paperwork of accounts she was settling, he was shocked on the amount of cash Lynn appeared to owe.

ANTHONY POZZA (in court docket): I simply bear in mind getting a closing account with only a bunch of bank card payments …

ANTHONY POZZA (in court docket): And it was simply bizarre how she had all these money owed that simply did not make any sense to me.

Hernan’s associates remembered her as dwelling paycheck to paycheck till 2014, when she inherited $250,000 after her mom died. Now, after Hernan’s loss of life, Kurczewski reported to Anthony Pozza that the majority of Hernan’s belongings had been eaten away by debt.

ANTHONY POZZA (in court docket): I simply felt like one thing was up and I wished it checked out extra carefully.

The jury subsequent heard from somebody who was wanting extra carefully.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): You went by all these monetary accounts form of line by line, is that right?

DET. NATHAN PLENNES Yes.

Jessy Kurczewski
Jessy Kurczewski  

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Detective Nathan Plennes testified concerning the investigation into Hernan’s funds. Prosecutors alleged Kurczewski stole greater than $200,000 from Hernan earlier than and after she died. And in the middle of their investigation, detectives found a bombshell: Kurczewski  had a prison document. In 2011,  Kurczewski  was convicted on fees of id theft and forgery and sentenced to eight years. Jessy had been launched from jail early in 2016 on prolonged supervision — which coincided with the time Hernan’s well being started to say no.

Plennes advised jurors what he realized about Hernan’s financial institution accounts. He testified that Hernan’s cash market account, which had round $250,000 in 2016, was right down to solely $87 simply after she died. A fraction of the whole was spent by Hernan on a Jeep and a few jewellery. Almost the whole lot else, together with a complete of 20 checks, went to Kurczewski .

Stephanie Rodriguez: Jessy was accused of stealing from Lynn as a result of she was getting … checks out of Lynn Hernan’s account … with various issues within the memo notes like IRS fee, automotive fee. … But not one of the cash was going to the locations the place Lynn supposedly meant for them to go.

Plennes described to the jury how he matched every of these checks to deposits in Kurczewski ‘s accounts — after which tracked the place Kurczewski spent that cash. There was a giant spike in spending whereas Hernan was within the hospital two weeks earlier than she died.

Stephanie Rodriguez: During her final hospital keep … cash was being transferred from Hernan’s account into Kurczewski  ‘s account. And then Kurczewski was withdrawing that cash from ATMs at a neighborhood on line casino.

Plennes additionally testified that on the day that Hernan died, a JCPenney bank card was opened in Hernan’s title. Just days later, a $3,000 buy of furnishings, made on one other bank card in Hernan’s title, was delivered to the house Kurczewski shared with Scott Craig.

RANDY SITZBERGER (in court docket): Mr. Craig, how is it you realize Ms. Kurczewski?

SCOTT CRAIG: We had been boyfriend and girlfriend for … three-and-a-half years.

RANDY SITZBERGER: What was it that occurred in the summertime of 2019 that prompted that finish to the connection?

SCOTT CRAIG: Um, when Waukesha Sheriff’s Department got here to my home and took her away. 

Kurczewski was arrested for doubtlessly violating the phrases of her supervised launch on these id theft and fraud fees.

DET. AARON HOPPE (in court docket): This is the preliminary interview that was carried out with Ms. Kurczewski as soon as the warrants had been carried out on July ninth.

Detective Aaron Hoppe, the lead investigator within the case, and Detective Chris Kohl, interviewed Kurczewski. Hoppe watched parts of that interview together with the jurors.

DET. CHRIS KOHL (police interview): Typically would you go there within the morning or the evening or —

JESSY KURCZEWSKI :  I did not have a set — It simply depended how she was doing the day earlier than, and …

Following up on their suspicions that Kurczewski had been stealing from Hernan, Detective Chris Kohl gave her an opportunity to elucidate. She claimed Hernan had been paying her for serving to at dwelling.

DET. CHRIS KOHL (police interview): Did you could have like an official association —  like I make $20 an hour?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: No. No, there was nothing. No, nothing like that. … I imply, there was no, you realize, sooner or later, “oh, this is a test.” One day, “this is my card, go get this,” One day—I imply, it was no, no set —

DET. CHRIS KOHL: No set quantity?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: No. … I imply, she’d assist out. She’d inform my mother, “Oh, this month I’m going to pay your lease” or “I’m gonna pay your automotive.”

Jurors watched as Detective Kohl, for the primary time, shared Hernan’s post-mortem outcomes with Kurczewski.

DET. CHRIS KOHL: There’s an anomaly in her toxicology. There’s a drug in her system that is not alleged to be there.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: And what would that be?

DET. CHRIS KOHL: Um, it is known as tetrahydrozine (sic).

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: What is that?

DET. CHRIS KOHL: More generally often called eye drops.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: She used eye drops on a regular basis.

DET. CHRIS KOHL: What did she use ’em for?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: She used ’em for her eyes. … She put ’em in her eyes on a regular basis.

DET. CHRIS KOHL:  What killed her is the attention drops.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Are you critical?

DET. CHRIS KOHL: Mm-hmm (affirms).

In the interview Detective Kohl advised Kurczewski that the health worker thought somebody gave the attention drops to Hernan — orally — in an try to kill her.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI : Do you guys suppose I murdered her?

DET. CHRIS KOHL: Did you?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: I swear to God, I did not — I didn’t.

DET. CHRIS KOHL: Seems you are the one who had probably the most to realize on this.

But detectives say Kurczewski knew all about tetrahydrozoline. She advised her boyfriend Scott, in textual content messages, somebody had put it in her drink when she was at a bar about three months after Hernan’s loss of life. Detective Hoppe learn the texts in court docket:

DET. AARON HOPPE: Jessy to Scott: “Scott I do not really feel good.”

Scott advised detectives that Kurczewski mentioned she went to the hospital.

DET. AARON HOPPE: “They mentioned my blood strain is basically unhealthy”

DET. AARON HOPPE: “I’ve traces of tetrahydrozoline in my blood  

DET. AARON HOPPE: “The physician mentioned  … that is the primary … ingredient in eyedrops.”

DET. AARON HOPPE: “He mentioned folks put it in folks’s drinks on a regular basis”

DET. AARON HOPPE: “He mentioned there is not any style to it and folks do not discover.”

Stephanie Rodriguez: Jessy additionally tells Scott in these textual content messages that folks can die from tetrahydrozoline poisoning.

DET. AARON HOPPE: “u can die from that”

JESSY KURCZEWSKI’S CHANGING EXPLANATIONS 

ABBEY NICKOLIE:  Detective Hoppe, I feel you testified you spoke once more with Ms. Kurczewski?

DET. AARON HOPPE: That’s proper.

On day 9 of the trial, the jury watched video of one other interview between Jessy and detectives. This one came about the day after she was arrested on that parole maintain. She had requested to talk to detectives once more.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI : I used to be up all evening lengthy attempting to think about the whole lot and something. I used to be pondering of the Visines.

After spending her first evening in jail, Kurczewski’s story had modified. Right after her arrest, Kurczewski had advised detectives that Hernan used eye drops for dry eyes. Now Kurczewski advised Hoppe that Hernan had one other use for it.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI  (police interview): She was ingesting vodka and Visine.

Stephanie Rodriguez: During the second day of interviews with detectives, the jury heard Jessy inform them that Lynn did drink Visine.

DET. AARON HOPPE: How are you aware she had combined Visine with — along with her vodka?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Because that is what she did.

DET. AARON HOPPE: Why?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: She’s accomplished it about thrice.

DET. AARON HOPPE: Why? Why did not you inform us that yesterday.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Because I did not need to inform you guys since you guys are making it sound prefer it occurred the day of, and that is not when she was doing that.

Stephanie Rodriguez: But Jessy says she by no means gave Lynn Hernan any Visine.

DET. AARON HOPPE: Did you ever put the vodka — the Visine within the vodka?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Never. Swear to God.

DET. AARON HOPPE: So she put the Visine (Yup) in her vodka…

Then Kurczewski went additional.

Stephanie Rodriguez: Jessy goes into element about how Lynn wished to die by suicide. … that Lynn was utilizing the attention drops to assist her die by suicide.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI (police interview): She was on the lookout for her method out.

Kurczewski vehemently denied serving to Hernan die.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI (police interview): I by no means combined it. I swear to God. I purchased it for her. And I knew she was mixing it. … She put it into her water every so often, and in her vodka every so often.

The following day, Kurczewski requested to talk with the detectives but once more — the third time in three days. The jury watched as Kurczewski  had a new revelation for the investigators.

Stephanie Rodriguez: Jessy tells detectives that Lynn would get a buzz off of ingesting Visine.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI (police interview): She mentioned she misplaced like feeling of her physique. It made her really feel good. … And I truthfully she was doing it for therefore lengthy, that I did not suppose she was going to die from it. . I actually did not. I assumed, OK, she was getting some sleep from it, that is it. She was doing it for 2 months, not less than.

DET. AARON HOPPE: Doing what?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: The Visine.

And Kurczewski now mentioned that Hernan really did drink Visine the day she died. Kurczewski claimed that when she visited Hernan that morning, Kurczewski  knew that Hernan had poured six bottles of Visine into her personal water bottle.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI (police interview): That bottle of water proper there had in six — six Visines. …

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: I did not put it in there. I gave her the bottle of water …

DET. CHRIS KOHL: Which is the one you realize has six bottles of Visine in it?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Yep.

DET. CHRIS KOHL: ‘Cause she advised you. And you give it to her?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Well, we argued about it.

Kurczewski mentioned she spent 10 minutes attempting to cease Hernan.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: She mentioned, “No, I need that bottle of water. It’ll put me to sleep.” …

DET. CHRIS KOHL: And then you definitely gave in?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Yep. … it is her alternative and what she wished …

DET. CHRIS KOHL: And then you definitely left?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: Yep.

Hours later, detectives alleged Kurczewski  opened that JCPenney bank card in Hernan’s title and went grocery purchasing.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI (police interview): I did not do it to her, although. I did not (cries).

hernan-full.jpg
In June 2021, Jessy Kurczewski was charged with first-degree intentional murder, and two counts of theft for stealing from Lynn Hernan earlier than and after her loss of life.

Waukesha County Sheriff Records Office


It could be 23 months later that Jessy Kurczewski was charged with Lynn Hernan’s loss of life.

When it was the protection’s flip, Kurczewski’s attorneys centered nearly solely on their declare that Hernan died by suicide by ingesting Visine.

Gary Verdin, a buddy of Kurczewski ‘s mom, testified he’d been in Hernan’s apartment twice, the second time a few 12 months earlier than her loss of life. Yet his reminiscence of the go to was clear.

GARY VERDIN (in court docket): I noticed her all the time sitting on this, uh, chair with a desk subsequent to her. … She had, um, a … white slurpy cup, uh, straw popping out of it. She had a bottle of vodka subsequent to it. … She had,  an ash tray, her cigarettes and bottle of Visine.

DONNA KUCHLER: You certain it is Visine?

GARY VERDIN: Yes.

Verdin testified that on one other event, he heard Hernan on speakerphone when he visited Kurczewski’s mom, Jennifer Flower.

GARY VERDIN (in court docket): Lynn simply began rambling off … and she or he was both sleepy or drained or no matter, however she was, uh, rattling off concerning the will. … Then she began speaking about how she wished to kill herself.

The protection known as Sara Tromp, a nurse practitioner who started treating Hernan for again ache in 2017. Despite prescribing a number of ache drugs for her, Tromp mentioned Hernan didn’t enhance.

PABLO GALAVIZ (in court docket): In 2018, January, she continues to complain about her again ache.

SARA TROMP: Yes.

PABLO GALAVIZ: The ache being worsening, right?

SARA TROMP: Yes.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas was employed by the protection.

DR. LINDSEY THOMAS (in court docket): I’d say her previous medical historical past was very vital. … She had a really lengthy listing of medical situations and, uh, additionally had fairly a couple of psychiatric issues. … despair, anxiousness, agoraphobia — which is worry of public locations … persistent insomnia. Those had been those that had been listed in her medical data.

Dr. Thomas testified she agreed with the state’s conclusion that Lynn’s medical issues contributed to her loss of life. She didn’t agree with the state’s discovering that Lynn died from tetrahydrozoline poisoning.

Stephanie Rodriguez: The forensic pathologist that the protection introduced up mentioned that Lynn’s explanation for loss of life was undetermined, however she believed it was mixed-drug toxicity. … and in order that signifies that she thought it was a mix of all of the medicine present in Lynn’s system.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): Would you say that there’s robust proof right here that Lynn Hernan’s loss of life was a suicide?

DR. LINDSEY THOMAS: Uh, I’d say there’s robust proof that definitely may have been a suicide. Yes.

As the protection concluded, Judge Jennifer Durow requested Kurczewski if she’d be taking the stand.

JUDGE DUROW (in court docket): What is that call?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI : It was very onerous for me to determine, however finally, I can’t be testifying.

In her closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Abbey Nickolie mentioned Kurczewski  had only one motive: cash.

ABBEY NICKOLIE (in court docket): Miss Kurczewski’s intent is obvious; it was to kill … And the motive is her personal private profit. … This is somebody who has profited over $144,000 earlier than loss of life and over $80,000 after.

In her closing, protection legal professional Donna Kuchler maintained that Hernan took her personal life.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): The state has not confirmed a first-degree intentional murder.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): Jessy knew that Lynn would … take Visine, drink it. … But she would not know the way she died that day, seemed like a suicide with drugs from an individual who was sad.

As for the allegations that Jessy stole from Hernan, the protection contended that Hernan gave Jessy the cash as a result of Lynn knew she was going to finish her personal life.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): Lynn gave Jessy cash on a regular basis as a result of she wished to.

DONNA KUCHLER (in court docket): She wished Jessy to have it. She is aware of she’s going out. … And Lynn decided. She decided that she was going to exit. And … she did that on October third as soon as Jessy had left the house.

In its rebuttal, the prosecution pushed again.

ABBEY NICKOLIE (in court docket): To imagine that this was a suicide, you would need to imagine that by probably the most cosmic intervention in the complete world, it occurred on the actual cut-off date when Miss Kurczewski  maximized the amount of cash that she made on this entire ordeal.

The jury deliberated for seven hours the primary day however didn’t attain a verdict.

Stephanie Rodriguez: Verdict look ahead to this case was tense … when the jury started to deliberate right into a second day, there was some surprise.

Anthony Pozza: That’s when … I acquired frightened. … I used to be questioning why, you realize, what is the holdup.

On Nov. 14, 2023, after 10-and-a-half hours of deliberation, Jessy Kurczewski steadied herself as Judge Jennifer Dorow learn the jury’s verdicts: responsible of first-degree intentional murder.

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Jessy Kurczewski was discovered responsible of first-degree intentional murder and two counts of felony theft.

Court Pool


Kurczewski broke down as the decide continued. She was additionally convicted on the 2 counts of felony theft — for stealing cash from Hernan earlier than and after she died.

Anthony Pozza: I used to be simply overcome with emotion. … it additionally makes you replicate on the final 5 years … with the lies and the deceit.

But earlier than sentencing, the case took a weird flip when an envelope containing 37 pages of handwritten letters and paperwork was obtained by a buddy of Kurczewski’s, who then turned it over to the sheriff’s division.

Stephanie Rodriguez: The letter requests a buddy of Jessy to faux proof, create a voice recording pretending to be Lynn Hernan … to ship all of … this … to the decide on this case, to native media, even to the governor to attempt to show Jessy’s innocence.

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The case took a weird flip when an envelope containing 37 pages of handwritten letters and paperwork was obtained by a buddy of Jessy Kurczewski’s, who then turned it over to the sheriff’s division. Prosecutors mentioned the paperwork had been written by Kurczewski on the again of her trial notes, giving “Directions” to her buddy on the way to impersonate Hernan and fabricate supplies, and submit them to the court docket.

Waukesha County Circuit Courts


Prosecutors mentioned the paperwork had been written by Kurczewski on the again of her trial notes, giving “Directions” to her buddy on the way to impersonate Hernan and fabricate supplies, and submit them to the court docket.

Kurczewski allegedly requested her buddy to “make a voice tape” pretending to be Hernan, writing “She has an older, raspy … feminine voice.” Kurczewski allegedly directed her buddy to say, “I can not go on anymore” … “I selected to drink Visine and finish my life. ” Kurczewski denied writing the paperwork, and the sheriff’s division started an investigation into their origin 

And the outcomes of that investigation had been revealed on April 5, 2024, when Kurczewski was again in Judge Dorow’s court docket for her sentencing.

Prosecutors performed video recorded in Kurczewski’s bunk room on the Waukesha County Jail a couple of days earlier than these paperwork had been turned over to authorities.

JUDGE DOROW: Ms. Kurczewski that is your alternative to deal with the court docket. What, if something, would you wish to say?

Kurczewski once more denied she was the writer of these paperwork. She spent nearly two hours, with no break, proclaiming her innocence — insisting the one factor she was responsible of was being a loyal buddy

They mentioned it confirmed Kurczewski placing papers into an envelope, leaving it on the mattress of one other inmate who later takes it to a mail drop-off. The prosecution mentioned this proved Kurczewski wrote these paperwork.

JESSY KURCZEWSKI (in court docket): Let’s be very clear right here, there was no homicide. I didn’t commit homicide. I didn’t poison Lynn, give her drugs or the rest. … it’s a lot to be accused and convicted of homicide once I did not do it (chokes up) … You’re holding me liable for what she did.

Judge Dorow mentioned she believed Hernan’s loss of life was premeditated.

JUDGE DOROW: Tetrahydrozoline was not one thing we anticipated to seek out. … And I do imagine it was one thing you, Ms. Kurczewski, banked on nobody testing for. … I’ve to ask out loud, it is in a rhetorical query, however had been you poisoning Lynn Hernan all alongside? Following your launch from jail?

JESSY KURCZEWSKI: No.

JUDGE DOROW: I’m not asking for a solution, that is my time. So don’t interrupt me.

Kurczewski was sentenced to life in jail on the intentional murder cost, and 10 years for the 2 theft fees. The soonest she may very well be paroled could be after 40 years, when she could be practically 80 years previous.

JIM KELLIHER (in court docket): Jessy poisoned Lynn like she was a rodent.

Lynn Hernan’s buddy, Jim Kelliher, had a couple of closing phrases for her killer.

JIM KELLIHER (in court docket): The satan awaits you. I hope you rot in hell. Lynn Hernan is an angel in heaven. May you relaxation in peace, Lynn. You’re dearly missed. And all the time might be. I’m so very sorry. God bless

Jessy Kurczewski s mom, Jennifer Flower, has not been charged with any wrongdoing in reference to Lynn Hernan’s loss of life. 

 Kurczewski  says she plans to file an enchantment. 


Richard Barber is the producer/editor. Susan Mallie and Lauren Clark are the producers. Charlotte A. Fuller is the event producer. Marcus Balsam and Phil Tangel are the editors. Michelle Sigona and Tamara Weitzman are the event producers. Anthony Batson is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the chief story editor. Judy Tygard is the chief producer.