Mills Faces More Counts In Eyedrop Poisoning
A preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday in Fulton County Central Court for Vickie Jo Mills, who allegedly poisoned her boyfriend with eyedrops over a three-year period, has been continued upon the request of her attorney, Public Defender Dwight Harvey.
Mills, 33, of McConnellsburg, is accused of lacing live-in boyfriend and longtime Ayr Township supervisor Thurman “Tom” Edgar Nesbitt III’s drinking water with Visine® eyedrops since 2009. She was arrested last Thursday and arraigned before Magesterial District Justice Wendy Mellott on one count each of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person .
The court set bail at $75,000. Mills was initially taken to Franklin County Jail in lieu of bond but was subsequently bailed out. The terms of her bond include that she is to have no contact with Nesbitt.
Mills has given her current address as Gerald Circle in Mc- Connellsburg.
Magisterial District Judge Tamela Mellott Bard presided over Monday’s brief preliminary hearing. Prior to the judge issuing a continuance, however, District Attorney Travis Kendall amended the original complaint, and Mills was charged with nine additional counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment, bringing the total count to 10 for each alleged crime.
The amendment was made as a result of Mills’ confession to the number of times she put eyedrops in 45-year-old Nesbitt’s drinking water. Reckless endangerment and simple assault are both Misdemeanor 2 crimes, while aggravated assault is a Felony 1 crime.
Mills faces a maximum sentence of 240 years in jail if found guilty of all 30 charges, according to Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall.
The preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for September 17.
Allegations against Mills arose after Nesbitt’s physician, Dr. Harry Johnston, of McConnellsburg, went to the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in McConnellsburg on July 17 to report his suspicions of tainted drinking water and a list of Nesbitt’s ongoing physical symptoms.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by arresting officer Trooper Richard Cutchall, Dr. Johnston told police investigators that he had been treating Nesbitt for several years for a variety of symptoms, including nau- sea, vomiting, drastic dips and elevations in blood pressure, and difficulty breathing.
“He recently developed information and believed that Visine® was being put into the drinking water of Nesbitt,” the affidavit stated.
Later that same afternoon, Nesbitt agreed to have blood withdrawn for testing at NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pa. Results confirmed that Nesbitt’s blood had a level of 49 ng/mL tetrahydrozoline, which is considered an “extremely high” dosage. Tetrahydrozoline is not a substance found in the human body and if ingested orally can lead to decreased blood pressure, irregular breathing, nausea, vomiting and coma.
Mills was transported to the barracks for a late-night interview on August 9. Trooper Cutchall and Crime Unit Supervisor Cpl. William Baker told the “News” that Mills was “cooperative” and “honest” in divulging the chain of events that lead to her arrest.
“She (Mills) related she had been putting Visine® drops into Nesbitt’s water since 2009. She never meant to kill him, only wanted him to pay more attention to her,” Cutchall said in the affidavit. She admitted putting eyedrops in his water 10 to 12 times.
A subsequent search of the couple’s home at 18250 Great Cove Rd. resulted in police finding a number of empty bottles of Visine ® as well as several full bottles, Baker said.
The story has gained national attention after being picked up by The Associated Press as a wire story. Articles have appeared in the New York Daily News as well as in papers in the Northeast and Midwest. The story has also been reported in various Harrisburg television station news broadcasts and has drawn attention to the dangers of ingesting Visine®, which is an over-the-counter eyedrop medication.
On Tuesday ABC TV’s “Good Morning America’’ ran a more than four-minute segment on the Mills eyedrop poisoning story.