Saturday’s installment of “48 Hours” examines the strange case of Lana Clayton, a nurse who fatally poisoned her millionaire husband by lacing his drinks with Visine.
Steve and Lana Clayton lived in a waterfront mansion in South Carolina, where Steve had retired after selling his lucrative physical therapy business. Outgoing and well-liked, he was known for throwing lavish parties complete with fireworks and live music.
In July 2018, Lana reported finding her dead husband at the bottom of their staircase. She told first responders he had been bedridden for the past few days with a bad bout of vertigo, CBS News’ “48 Hours” reports in “The Eye Drop Homicide,” airing at 10 p.m.
A month later, an autopsy detected high levels of tetrahydrozoline.
“I was like, what is tetrahydrozoline? I don’t know what that is? I had to look up what tetrahydrozoline was,” coroner Sabrina Gast told “48 Hours.”
The chemical is found in eye drops, and if ingested in large enough amounts can be fatal, according to medical experts.
Lana Clayton initially told investigators her husband liked to put Visine in his coffee to help him go to the bathroom, CBS News reported.
Eventually, the widow would acknowledge poisoning her husband with Visine for three days before he died. Authorities said Lana Clayton told them her husband was abusive and she did not meant to kill him, only to punish him by making him sick.
Last year, she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and tampering with a food or drug and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
“I did impulsively put the Visine in Steven’s drink, but I just did it to make him uncomfortable,” she said in court. “I never thought it would kill him.”
Two years before his death, Lana Clayton shot her husband in the back of the head with a crossbow. At the time, she told police it was trying to load the weapon in the couple’s bedroom when it accidentally went off and struck her sleeping husband.
Police ruled the incident an accident and Steve Clayton said he did not believe his wife was trying to kill him, Inside Edition reported.