Matthew James Phelps mugshot

‘Cough medicine’ killer accused of stabbing wife 126 times was obsessed with ‘American Psycho’ & talked to friend about killing: Cops

A North Carolina man accused of stabbing his wife to death after he took cough medicine was apparently obsessed with a movie about a serial killer and often talked to friends about killing, according to police.

The Charlotte Observer reports that 29-year-old Matthew Phelps is accused of stabbing his wife, Lauren Hugelmaier Phelps, 126 times on September 1, 2017. The suspect dialed 911 a little after 1 a.m. and said he “thought” he killed his wife, then blamed the tragic incident on the cough syrup he took hours earlier.

“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?”

Authorities arrested and charged Phelps with first-degree murder for his wife’s death; the case gained national attention after numerous experts began discussing the effects of cold medicine and whether Coricidin Cough and Cold could cause a psychotic episode.

Matthew and Lauren Phelps [Facebook]
Phelps’ lawyers intend to bring up the side effects of the cough medicine as a “subject of injury” during his murder trial, but documents filed at the Wake County Magistrate’s Office suggest that there were issues within the marriage that may have contributed to Lauren’s death.

Documents indicated that he couple, although married less than a year, were having marital issues in regards to finances. Phelps reportedly spent more money than the couple made. Friends told authorities that prior to her murder, Lauren “had recently taken drastic steps to limit her husband’s spending.”

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Further, the suspect had an alleged obsession with the movie, “American Psycho,” about a serial killer who couldn’t stop himself from murdering others. He also reportedly made mention to a close friend that he wondered what it would be like to kill.

“It was learned that Matthew Phelps was obsessed with the movie ‘American Psycho’ and this Instagram account shows numerous photographs of scenes from the movie and Phelps dressed as the main character,” court documents read. “The movie is about a serial killer, and Phelps expressed interest to a friend regarding what it would be like to kill someone.”

Investigators said that evidence suggested Lauren was preparing to end her relationship with Phelps before she was murdered.

Despite Phelps indicating on the 911 call that he dreamed of the killing and wasn’t aware when the murder occurred, investigators stated that he took the time to clean himself up after the stabbings.

Check back with CrimeOnline as we continue to provides updates about the case.

[Feature Photo: Matthew Phelps/Police Handout]