South Carolina Woman Sentenced to 25 Years For Fatally Poisoning Husband With Eye Drops

Diane Herbst

A South Carolina woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to fatally poisoning her husband with Visine eye drops, according to the Rock Hill Herald.

Lana Sue Clayton, 53, of Lake Wylie, pleaded guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter and malicious tampering with drugs or food, reports WCNC

Clayton faced up to 50 years in prison, but South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Paul Burch sentenced Clayton to half that,  the Rock Hill Herald reports. 

Clayton was arrested in August 2018 in York County and charged with murder and unlawful malicious tampering of food in connection to the death of her husband, Stephen Delvalle Clayton, according to a release from the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Clayton allegedly confessed to spiking her husband’s water with eye drops over the summer of 2018, reports WSOC-TV.

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She began using the deadly chemical on July 19 through July 21, 2018, and Stephen, 64, died on July 21 at their home, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office release, which noted the “autopsy toxicology tests discovered poisonous levels of Tetrahydrozoline in the body of the victim.”

The chemical is frequently used in eye drops.

About two years before she poisoned her husband,  Clayton reportedly shot her spouse with a crossbow in an incident that was initially determined to have been an accident, according to the Rock Hill Herald. 

Law enforcement was taking a fresh look at the previous shooting, the Rock Hill Herald reports.

A 2016 incident report obtained by the Herald shows that Clayton told investigators in May 2016 that she’d shot husband that morning with a crossbow while “trying to load” an arrow.

The bow “accidentally” triggered after she moved from downstairs to the couple’s bedroom area upstairs, she said, according to the report.

The man was shot in the back of the head while he was sleeping and “woke up yelling and bleeding from the wound,” the report shows. NBC News and local TV stations WCNC and WSOC confirmed the 2016 incident.

A spokesperson for the York County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.