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Man accused of killing wife with eye drops appears in court

Joshua Hunsucker is accused of killing his wife by surreptitiously placing eye drops in his wife's water and exposing her to deadly amounts of tetrahydrozoline.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Joshua Hunsucker, the Gaston County man arrested in December of 2019 for allegedly poisoning his wife with eye drops, appeared in court Monday afternoon for pre-trial motions.

Hunsucker's attorney, David Teddy, filed a motion asking for a change in venue in his client's case.

Teddy cited the extensive national media coverage of the case and negative social media comments against his client.

"I would contend that picking a jury in this county, with this amount of negative publicity directed toward the defendant. People have strong opinions about it. They're emotionally connected to the case. It would take forever to get a jury picked in this county," Teddy said. "It's clear this community wants to punish him."

RELATED: Paramedic charged with killing wife by poisoning her with eye drops appears in court

Special prosecutor Jordan Green argued Teddy didn't meet the burden required to change the venue in the case.

"The U.S. Supreme Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court have found over and over and over again that factually accurate media coverage of a case is no basis for change of venue," Green said. "The defense hasn't presented any case law that would suggest that Facebook comments are a basis for change of venue."

Hon. Carla Archie said she would make a decision on the change of venue before next Thursday.

Hunsucker is accused of killing his wife, Stacy Robinson Hunsucker, by surreptitiously placing eye drops in his wife's water and exposing her to deadly amounts of tetrahydrozoline, an ingredient in eye drops, according to court documents previously obtained by WCNC Charlotte.  

In addition to the first-degree murder charge, a grand jury indicted Hunsucker on insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretenses greater than $100,000.

Those charges stem from Joshua Hunsucker receiving a $250,000 life insurance payout after his wife's death.

RELATED: Man accused of killing wife with eye drops, now arrested for setting fire to medical helicopter

Investigators have said after his wife's death, Hunsucker refused to have an autopsy performed and quickly had her remains cremated.

Detectives alleged Hunsucker was inspired by the arrest of a York County woman in September 2018, who eventually pleaded guilty to poisoning her husband with eye drops.

Hunsucker has been out of jail on a $1.5 million bond.

In court, Judge Carla Archie agreed to push back his nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Back in March of this year, Hunsucker was also charged with intentionally setting fire aboard a Charlotte medical helicopter mid-flight.

The warrant charges Hunsucker with setting fire to a syringe pump during a flight on Nov. 26, 2019. As WCNC Charlotte has previously reported, the helicopter, which transports patients for Atrium Health, was forced to make an emergency landing across from the parking lot of a car dealership along Independence Boulevard.

Contact Brandon Golder at bgoldner@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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