Matthew Phelps (28) and Lauren Hugelmaier (29) were married for a little under a year when Matthew stabbed Lauren to death in their North Carolina home on September 1st, 2017. Matthew, an aspiring pastor, claims that he has no recollection of the stabbing. He told police that he took too much cough syrup before bed, and when he awoke in the middle of the night, Lauren was dead. In his 911 call, Matthew is heard saying “I had a dream, and then I turn on the lights and she’s dead on the floor. I have blood all over me, and there’s a bloody knife on the bed, and I think I did it.”
Investigators were suspicious of Matthew’s story from the get-go. The cough syrup that Matthew allegedly took before the incident is called Coricidin HBP Cold and Cough. Hallucinations are listed as a side effect of the medicine, however, there is no other evidence to suggest that Coricidin is associated with violent behavior. Investigators also stated that they found evidence that suggests Lauren’s death was premeditated, but they did not immediately elaborate on that evidence. Matthew was arrested shortly after the incident.
Still, Matthew maintained that he did not intend to kill Lauren and does not remember doing so. He says that Coricidin is the real culprit in this case. A grand jury disagreed, and officially indicted Matthew on first-degree murder charges on September 28th, 2017.
Over a year later, Matthew accepted a plea deal and has ultimately pleaded guilty to murdering Lauren. By accepting the plea, Matthew avoided the death penalty and will instead spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Court documents indicated that Matthew and Lauren were having marital problems around the time of Lauren’s death. Lauren was allegedly upset over Matthew’s overspending habits, and according to her friends, she was planning on ending her relationship with him shortly before she was murdered. Matthew was allegedly obsessed with the movie “American Psycho” and had expressed to his friends that he wanted to know what it was like to kill somebody. Additionally, Matthew told the police that he could not recall murdering Lauren, however investigators say he began to clean up the scene before he called 911.