Mills Pleads Guilty In Eyedrop Case
A teary-eyed Vickie Jo Mills stood before Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Shawn Meyers on October 16 for mandatory arraignment on 10 counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
Waiving arraignment at the advisement of Fulton County Public Defender Dwight Harvey, Mills entered an open plea of guilty to one count of aggravated assault by attempting serious bodily injury. Remaining charges will be dismissed with prejudice.
The 33-year-old woman, who is currently residing at Gerald Circle in Ayr Township, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years incarceration and a $25,000 fine.
Under questioning by Judge Meyers, Mills admitted she put Visine® eyedrops in the drinks of Thurman “Tom” Nesbitt III. She confirmed it was not a one-time occurrence, and she committed the act repeatedly between June 1, 2009, and her arrest on August 10. Even though her intention was to make Nesbitt sick, she repeatedly acknowledged she “should have known” the effect the Visine® would have on Nesbitt who was suffering from a reoccurring medical illness.
Meyers noted that Mills’ actions showed “extreme indifference” to Nesbitt’s life. Nesbitt was not in court on Tuesday and has not been in attendance at prior court proceedings. His extended family was on hand as was Mills’ family during the Tuesday arraignment and entry of a plea.
An affidavit of probable cause filed in the case by Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Richard Cutchall, indicates that local physician Dr. Harry Johnston went to the state police substation in McConnellsburg on July 17. Dr. Johnston shared with investigators his suspicion of tainted drinking water and a list of Nesbitt’s ongoing physical symptoms that had been documented over a several year period. Among those symptoms were nausea, vomiting, drastic dips and elevations in blood pressure, and difficulty breathing.
Nesbitt consented to having blood withdrawn, and results confirmed that his blood contained 49 ng/mL of tetrahydrozoline, which is considered an “extremely high” dosage.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.
A follow-up search of the couple’s residence at 18250 Great Cove Road in Ayr Township resulted in police locating multiple, empty bottles of Visine® as well as several full bottles, Crime Unit Cpl. William Baker said following Mills’ arrest.
The Fulton County Probation Department is slated to complete a presentence investigation report in connection with the case. Those findings will be reviewed by the presiding judge at sentencing proceeding scheduled for December 11.