Eyedrop Case Headed To County Court
A case that made national headlines last month continued to draw media attention from across southcentral Pennsylvania and Maryland on Tuesday when Vickie Jo Mills appeared at the Fulton County Courthouse Monday afternoon.
The 33-yearold McConn ellsburg woman accused of poisoning her live-in boyfriend’s drinking water with Visine® eyedrops made her way past a camera crew and into the courthouse for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott. Inside, additional newspaper reporters from around the area waited an outcome as did the extended family of victim Thurman “Tom” Nesbitt III.
After sitting down with Fulton County Public Defender Dwight Harvey, Mills opted to waive her right to a hearing and entered a plea of not guilty. As a result, the case is headed to the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas where she will undergo mandatory arraignment.
Mills was initially charged by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Richard Cutchall on August 10 with one count each of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. The documents were subsequently amended to include 10 counts each of the three offenses and reflect the number of times Mills is accused of lacing Nesbitt’s water.
Court documents indicate 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, Dr. Johnston told police investigators that he had been treating Nesbitt for several years for a variety of symptoms, including nausea, 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.
Nesbitt would agree to have blood withdrawn for testing at NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pa.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.
“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 between 10 and 12 times.
A subsequent search of the couple’s residence at 18250 Great Cove Road resulted in police finding a number of empty bottles of Visine® as well as several full bottles, Cpl. William Baker said following Mills’ arrest.
Mills, who since her arrest has been residing at Gerald Circle in McConnellsburg, was accompanied to Monday’s court proceedings by a trio of family members. She remains free on $75,000 bail. The terms of her bond stipulate that she is to have no contact with Nesbitt, with whom she has a child.