Raleigh man who blamed cough syrup in wife’s fatal stabbing officially indicted

Nation & World News
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh man who told 911 dispatchers that he took too much cough syrup and believed he then killed his wife was officially indicted on a charge of first-degree murder on Monday.

Police responded to the 5200 block of Patuxent Drive around 1:15 a.m. on Sept. 1. Upon arrival, officers found 29-year-old Lauren Hugelmaier Phelps suffering from stab wounds.

She was transported to WakeMed for treatment but was later pronounced dead.

Her husband, Matthew James Phelps, 28, was detained at the scene.

Raleigh police released a 911 call associated with the stabbing.

“I think I killed my (redacted),” Phelps said. “I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor. I have blood all over me and there’s a bloody knife on the bed and I think I did it.”

Phelps then said he took “more medicine that I should have.” He said the medicine was Coricidin.

“I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this,” the caller said. “I’m so scared.

“She didn’t deserve this. Why?”

Coricidin is a cold medicine for people with high blood pressure.

One health study published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website said if it’s abused, the drug can cause euphoria, agitation, and could lead to hallucinations.

Funeral services were held for Lauren Phelps on Sept. 4 at the Wake Forest church where less than a year earlier she had married Matthew Phelps.

Matthew Phelps made his first court appearance on Sept. 5. He walked into the courtroom silently staring at the floor. Not once did he look at the crowded seats behind him.

The courtroom was full of his wife’s loved ones.

“We don’t know a whole lot more at this point in time than you do, although we certainly have talked with him. I’m not at liberty to share any of that conversation,” said Joe Cheshire, Phelps’ attorney.

His attorney called the case tragic and said there was a lot more to learn.

“He’s been through a hell of a trauma and he’s still kind of recovering from that particular trauma,” Cheshire said. “We have to ask everybody to withhold judgment in this particular case until we know more,” he added.

The indictment says Matthew Phelps “willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously did of malice aforethought kill and murder Lauren Hugelmaier Phelps” on Sept. 1.

Phelps remains in jail without bond. He could receive the death penalty if convicted.

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