Murderess, 39, bawls at sentencing for killing friend, 62, with eyedrops and stealing her life savings – but fails to soften no-nonsense judge who makes a point of jailing her until she’s EIGHTY

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Written By Maya Cantina

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  • Jessy Kurczewski jailed for at least 40 years Oct 2018 murder of Lynn Hernan
  • Judge Jennifer Dorow said ‘no one is safe’ from her in imposing huge sentence
  • Murderer gave self-indulgent two-hour speech declaring her innocence 

A serial fraudster who murdered her friend by lacing her water with eyedrops to steal everything she owned sobbed as she was jailed by a merciless judge.

Jessy Kurczewski, 39, wept as she read a self-indulgent two-hour statement to the Waukesha County Circuit Court on Friday maintaining her innocence.

Her tears failed to move Judge Jennifer Dorow, who deliberately tallied up the sentences so she would stay behind bars until she was at least 80.

Kurczewski murdered Lynn Hernan, 62, by handing her a bottle of water with a fatal dose of six vials of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in Visine eyedrops.

She then arranged the scene to look like a suicide before committing almost $300,000 of fraud, including writing a $130,204 check from the victim to herself.

Jessy Kurczewski, 39, wept as she read a self-indulgent two-hour statement to the Waukesha County Circuit Court on Friday maintaining her innocence

Becoming increasingly emotional, she accused the state of ruining her life until she was sobbing in her chair struggling to continue

Becoming increasingly emotional, she accused the state of ruining her life until she was sobbing in her chair struggling to continue

Kurczewski murdered Lynn Hernan, 62, by handing her a bottle of water with a fatal dose of six vials of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in Visine eyedrops

Kurczewski murdered Lynn Hernan, 62, by handing her a bottle of water with a fatal dose of six vials of tetrahydrozoline, the main ingredient in Visine eyedrops

Hernan was found dead at her home in Milwaukee on October 3, 2018, after her murderer called police saying she found her unresponsive.

The killer swindler was arrested on July 9, 2019 and claimed it was suicide or an accidental overdose at her trial, where she was found guilty on November 14.

Kurczewski showed no remorse or self-awareness during her statement to the court on Friday, declaring ‘I cannot be silenced’.

‘The truth is, I did not kill Lynn… she took her own life by suicide or she accidentally overdosed,’ she said.

Becoming increasingly emotional, she accused the state of ruining her life until she was sobbing in her chair struggling to continue.

‘It is a lot to be accused and convicted of murder, when I didn’t do it. It won’t bring her back, and it won’t make her loss any easier,’ she sobbed.

‘You’re holding me responsible for what SHE did – those were her decisions, her choices, her actions, and no one else’s, not even mine.’

Kurczewski's tears failed to move Judge Jennifer Dorow, who tallied up the sentences so she would stay behind bars until she was at least 80

Kurczewski’s tears failed to move Judge Jennifer Dorow, who tallied up the sentences so she would stay behind bars until she was at least 80

Hernan was found dead at her home in Milwaukee on October 3, 2018, after her murderer called police saying she found her unresponsive

Hernan was found dead at her home in Milwaukee on October 3, 2018, after her murderer called police saying she found her unresponsive

Judge Dorow imposed a life sentence for the murder, with at least 30 years before she could apply for parole, noting she would by older than Hernan was when she was murdered.

‘I think 30 years is a pretty significant amount of time. But my target is really 80 for you,’ she said.

To hit that goal of making Kurczewski about 80 when she could be released, Dorow gave her five years for each of the theft charges, to run consecutively.

Dorow explained that her motivation was to protect the public, due to her long criminal history and past fraud convictions.

‘You’ve demonstrated… there’s really not anyone who’s safe from you when it comes to your willingness to steal, to defraud,’ she said.

‘You’ll craft fake documents, you’ll try to cover up your tracks, you’ll justify it, and then you’ll blame others in the process when you get caught.’

Of the escalation to murder, she said: ‘I think you thought you were a very good thief, and you could get away with even more.’

During her lengthy speech, Kurczewski mocked and condescended her accusers as being unwilling to accept Hernan’s death and looking for someone to blame.

‘This is the part that is hard for us, it is the loss of her being here, that she is not here with us,’ she said.

‘I get that, because anyone who knew her, I would hope would feel that – but that doesn’t mean you can ruin somebody else’s life over what she did to herself. 

‘You can’t change what actually happened to whatever version you want because you don’t like the truth, you can’t blame somebody for something they didn’t do. You can’t put that on somebody else, you just can’t.’

Kurczewski then took aim directly at those she held responsible for putting her behind bars, and vowed to free herself on appeal.

‘One of the hardest lessons in all this God keeps showing me: We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but that is tough,’ she said.

‘I am trying more than anyone realizes, but mark my words when I say you are sending an innocent person to prison today. 

‘And when – not if – my appeal happens [and] my conviction is overturned, you will see that I was right and that I maintained my innocence from the beginning, and that can be on this county, this medical examiner, the detectives, the DA, the jurors, and you, Judge Dorow – all of you will have to live with that.’

Kurczewski moaned about the almost five years of her life she lost since her arrest, and what she stood to miss during her sentence.

‘I won’t ever be able to have kids that I have always wanted, and have someone call me mom, or be there for my grandparents in their remaining years or when they pass,’ she said.

‘I have played the what ifs over and over again form the day I found her. One thing I have come to accept is no matter what she did, I did, or anyone did differently, it wouldn’t have mattered. This is something I have made peace with.’

Throughout her speech, she maintained the lie that Hernan took her own life, and all she regretted was being unable to stop her. 

‘God knew long before that that was day she was going to die and he knew how – it was predestined. So nothing was going to change it,’ she said.

‘This is how I finally learned to accept her being gone and was struggling with what more I could have done – whether prior to that day, or getting more help, or coming back sooner – it wouldn’t have mattered. 

‘This is something most people do not realize – God knows us, he created us, he knows everything including the day we were born to the day we die. 

‘He chose that for her, so nothing was going to change it.’

Kurczewski burst into tears after a jury found her guilty of murder at her trial in November

Kurczewski burst into tears after a jury found her guilty of murder at her trial in November

The killer swindler was arrested on July 9, 2019 and claimed it was suicide or an accidental overdose at her trial

The killer swindler was arrested on July 9, 2019 and claimed it was suicide or an accidental overdose at her trial

Another particularly emotional part of the speech was when Kurczewski broke down explaining how her life had changed behind bars.

She cried to the point of needed moments to wipe her eyes and compose herself, but even then continued to play the victim. 

‘I want people to know how my life has changed for the better and why… there are everyday people struggling in similar or other situations, and it could always be worse,’ she said.

‘I am grateful for what I do have. I know that I am blessed, even when things are hard there is always a blessing even when it doesn’t feel like it.’

Kurczewski, in one of many slaps in the face to the loved ones of a woman she claimed thought of her as a daughter, patronizingly told anyone listening to watch out for mental illness in their friends.

‘I hope everyone realizes life is too short. Don’t forget to tell those you love every chance you can,’ she said.

‘Don’t sweat the small stuff and live every day as if it’s your last because tomorrow is not promised. If you know somebody struggling, be there for them, get them help.

‘Mental health is real, don’t wait until it is too late, or you will forever regret it.’

Kurczewski then took a moment to worry about the soul of the woman she sent to the afterlife, and implied she would meet her in Heaven one day.

‘Do you know if you were to die here where you will go? I ask that because I do, but most don’t,’ she said.

‘I spend a lot of days wondering if Lynn ever go right with God and if she is in Heaven, and that is hard. 

‘I hope someday I get to see her again, until then I have to keep fighting, because the truth shall set me free.’

Kurczewski wipes her eye after crying upon discovering she was found guilty last year

Kurczewski wipes her eye after crying upon discovering she was found guilty last year

Anthony Pozza, friend of Lynn Hernan, speaks at a press conference as Jessy Kurczewski has been sentenced to life in prison

Anthony Pozza, friend of Lynn Hernan, speaks at a press conference as Jessy Kurczewski has been sentenced to life in prison

Deputy District Attorney Abbey Nickolie put it better when she opened the trial last year:  ‘The defendant betrayed Lynn out of greed.’

Months before the murder, Kurczewski’s credit score had plummeted due to maxed-out credit cards.

Financial statements also revealed several payments made from the victim to the killer and a ‘fraudulent’ loan.

Kurczewski stole $290,210.06 in total from Hernan before and after her death, leaving one other accounts with just $88 in it.

Hernan’s entire estate was left to Kurczewski, who told authorities she had power of attorney. However, one of the victim’s cousins told them it was strange she had been bequeathed the estate. 

The court heard that after carrying out the murder, Kurczewski went shopping and opened accounts in Hernan’s name.

‘She didn’t spend the day worried about Lynn,’ Assistant District Attorney Randy Sitzberger said, WISN reported during the trial.

‘She was opening a JC Penney account in Lynn’s name, and she was using other accounts of Lynn to go shopping, do some online shopping, while she knew she just had given Lynn poison.’

Investigators originally thought it could be a drug overdose, with Kurczewski saying she told investigators she had been taking care of Hernan who was ‘acting odd.’

A photo is show as evidence of Lynn Hernan's residence where she was found deceased

A photo is show as evidence of Lynn Hernan’s residence where she was found deceased

Hernan was found slumped in her armchair with crushed pills scattered across her chest and piled on a plate next to her, which prosecutors argued was a suicide scene staged by Kurczewski. 

Kurczewski denied all the charges against her, with her defense team trying to argue that Hernan’s death was as a result of a combination of drugs in her system that she had taken to manage her pain.

They claimed Hernan became suicidal and wanted to gift her money away before her death. 

Attorneys for the defendant claimed Hernan would have found it ‘crazy’ that Kurczewski had been accused of any wrongdoing.

‘If Lynn Hernan was there today, she would say, ‘Are you crazy, prosecution?’ defense lawyer Pablo Galaviz said in his opening statement. 

Another of Kurczewski’s lawyers, Donna Kuchler, said Hernan gave her friend money ‘all the time’ because she wanted to

‘Giving money to Jessy made her happy. Jessy was like her daughter,’ she said.

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