Cough syrup killer update: Autopsy shows 123 stab wounds across slain wife’s body

A North Carolina man who claimed cough medicine may have made him kill, allegedly stabbed his wife a total of 123 times, according to a recently-released autopsy.

USA Today reports that Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps, 29, lost her life on Sept. 1 after her husband, Matthew James Phelps, 29, reportedly stabbed her repeatedly in her bed, after she turned in for the night. State pathologists indicated that the victim had  44 cuts and stabs to her head and neck area alone, with some cuts at least four inches deep. The remaining stab wounds were all over her entire body.

[Photo: Police Handout]
Phelps, who called police and told them he took cough medicine the night prior that made him “feel good,” is charged with first-degree murder.

He’s being held in the Wake County Jail in Raleigh with no bond.

Timeline of Events

Sept. 4

North Carolina police charged a Raleigh man with murder after he said he woke from a deep sleep and found his wife stabbed to death on early Friday morning.

The News & Observer reports that Matthew James Phelps, 29, called 911 a little after 1:10 a.m. on Friday and said he found his wife stabbed to death in their townhome off of the 5200 block of Patuxent Drive. He claimed he took “too much cold medicine” before going to sleep, then woke up to find his wife deceased.

“I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” Phelps told a 911 dispatcher. “There’s blood all over me, and there’s a bloody knife on the bed. I think I did it.”

After muttering disbelief, Phelps told the dispatcher he was too frightened to get close to his wife and was unsure if she was still breathing. He said he couldn’t remember anything past taking Coricidin cold medicine before going to sleep.

“I took more medicine that I should have. I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good and sometimes I can’t sleep at night……Oh my God. Oh God. She didn’t deserve this. Why?”

There were no prior arguments according to the suspect. The victim, Lauren Phelps, seemed happy the day before the killing. She posted a video of herself and Scentsy product she was selling on her Facebook page, and according to authorities, she was smiling and appeared happy in the footage.

Phelps, a 2011 graduate of the Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in 2011 in Pineville, Kentucky, didn’t have a criminal history. According to his Facebook page, the couple enjoyed Star Wars, even dancing together with light sabers at their wedding last year.

The suspect was arrested and taken the to Wake County jail. He remains behind bars without bond. He’s scheduled to make his first court appearance on Tuesday.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

Sept. 8 

New details continue to emerge in the case of the North Carolina man who reportedly killed his wife after he “took too much cough medicine” prior to sleeping.

Inside Edition reports that Matthew Phelps had a secret online life. The 27-year-old aspiring pastor apparently used the screenname “Marty Radical” on Instagram page and shared photos of himself wearing all black.

“I can’t get out of bed. There is evil in my head. Just let me be,” he captioned on one of his posts, quoting lyrics by rock band, Korn.

Phelps also used the social media site, Tumblr, where he shared his experiences with difficulties getting to sleep.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve had some strong activity with my dreams. Nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, hallucinations, and controlled dreams have all filled my life so far.”

His post was similar what he said to a 911 dispatcher on September 1, when said claimed he took Coricidin Cough and Cold to help him fall asleep.

“I took more medicine that I should have. I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good and sometimes I can’t sleep at night……Oh my God. Oh God. She didn’t deserve this. Why?”

Friends say that it was indeed the cough medicine that made Phelps snap and stab his wife.

“I’ve taken Benadryl, and I’ve woken up confused myself,” Melanie Duke, the suspect’s former co-worker, told WTVD.

Duke also explained that Phelps is a “good guy” who’s religious and cared deeply for his wife. She said he babysat her children before with no issues.

Phelps’ attorney said that as hard as it may be to imagine, his client is going through significant trauma and never intended to kill his wife.

“I know this is difficult for people to understand but he is going through a terrible trauma. And you know there are all kinds of stages to these things and he’s at the beginning of those stages. So there’s a lot of trauma to go around in all of this in all of these cases always.”

[Feature Photo: Handout/Facebook]