Newlywed pleads guilty to stabbing his wife 123 times
A North Carolina man who claimed a large dose of cold medicine caused him to brutally stab his wife to death pleaded guilty to her murder on Friday.
Matthew Phelps, 29, was arrested at his Raleigh home on Sept. 1, 2017, after he called the police to report that his wife, 29-year-old Lauren Phelps, had been murdered and that he may have killed her.
“I have blood all over me and there’s a bloody knife on the bed, and I think I did it,” Phelps told a 911 dispatcher at the time. “I can’t believe this.”
Phelps also told authorities that he had taken Coricidin Cough & Cold medicine because he was having trouble sleeping and that he could not remember what happened that night.
The body of Lauren Phelps was discovered in the fetal position inside of the recently-married couple’s home, and a later autopsy report revealed she had been stabbed 123 times in her face, neck, torso, arms and jugular vein.
Court documents from April 2018 revealed martial problems between Phelps and his wife, Raleigh’s the News & Observer reported. Friends told investigators that the couple often argued over Phelps’ spending habits and that Lauren had planned to end the marriage.
Prosecutors said on Friday that prior to the 911 call, Phelps had made a “calculated effort” to clean up his wife’s blood, which they say discredits his theory that he was mentally incapacitated by the cold medicine.
A blood test also revealed that the levels of cough medicine chemicals in Phelp’s blood on the night of the murder was not high enough to cause hallucinations.
Phelps originally pleaded not guilty to his wife’s murder, but changed his plea on Friday “to avoid the possibility of death,” his attorney, Elliot Abrams, told the News & Observer.
He will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.