(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A South Carolina judge has sentenced a woman to 25 years in prison after she admitted to poisoning her husband by inserting eye drops into his drinking water.
Lana Clayton pleaded guilty in a York County courthouse to voluntary manslaughter and tampering with food or drugs charges related to the July 21, 2018, killing of Steven Clayton. Lana Clayton, 53, admitted to cops that she placed droplets of eye drop liquid in her husband’s water glass starting two days before his death. Steven Clayton, 64, was believed to have originally died from natural causes; however, medical examiners found high levels of tetrahydrozoline, the chemical found in eye drops which constricts blood vessels, in his system during the autopsy.
Deputy solicitor Willy Thompson told South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Paul Burch Thursday that Lana Clayton, who was a nurse for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, knew the eye drops were tasteless and odorless and would not be detected by her husband, according to Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC. He added that when officers began to suspect foul play, Lana Clayton told them her husband put eye drops in his drinks all of the time.
She was eventually arrested in September 2018 and charged with his killing. Solicitor Kevin Brackett told the judge that Lana Clayton had killed her husband for money. He claimed she burned his will and threw his phone in a lake so he couldn’t call for help, according to WSOC.
At the hearing, Steven Clayton’s family and friends gave emotional testimony to the judge before the sentencing. His goddaughter, Lourdes Alvarez, held back tears and she urged the judge to punish Lana Clayton to the fullest extent of the law.
“Lana has fooled a lot of people, please don’t let her fool you,” she said.
Lana Clayton’s attorneys said their client had been a victim of sexual abuse in her past and that Steven Clayton “hit her, kicked her and choked her” during their five-year marriage. Lana Clayton told the judge that she put the drops in her husband’s drinks to make him sick and uncomfortable and didn’t intend on killing him.
“I wanted him to leave me alone,” she told the judge.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.