Whenever someone says they don’t remember a crime they committed because they weren’t conscious for it, they are rarely believed. Yet, there is evidence that proves one can be in a deep state of sleep when they pick up a weapon and take someone’s life. The science of sleeping is fascinating; it was the culprit in this particular homicide.
Death By Sleepwalker
Homicidal somnambulism or homicidal sleepwalking has been written about for ages; at least 100 people have come forward saying that they merely dreamed about doing the unthinkable only to find that it really happened when they woke up.
In 1987, Kenneth James Parks drove to his in-laws house, broke-in, attacked his father-in-law, murdered his mother-in-law, and drove himself to the police station to confess. He claimed to be asleep the entire time. While no one believed him at first, EEG readings proved that he had serious sleeping problems.
His body constantly tried to enter sleepwalking phases every night. At the time of the incident, Kenneth was very close to his in-laws, but he was planning on confessing his gambling addiction to them the next day. The stress he felt about it, combined with his extreme parasomnia, created a stage for him to unconsciously attack them. He was acquitted of the murder.
Now 28-year-old Matthew Phelps is set to use the same defense. The North Carolina man had a picture-perfect life; he was an aspiring pastor and graduated from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in 2011. He was currently working as a lawn care specialist. He had gotten married to his sweetheart Lauren Hugelmaier less than a year ago, and they appeared to be living in bliss. Lauren was selling Scentsy products and posted a video about her business on Facebook on August 31. Hours later, she would be pronounced dead.
Matthew called 911 at 1:10 AM on September ; “I think I killed my wife,” he said.
When the dispatcher asked for more details, Matthew said, “I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor. There’s blood all over me, and there’s a bloody knife on the bed. I think I did it. I can’t believe I did this. I can’t believe I did this.”
“I took more medicine than 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,” he continued. He then became emotional saying that Lauren didn’t deserve this.
Matthew was taken into the Wake County jail and has made one appearance in court so far; he has yet to enter a plea. The judge warned him that he could face the death penalty if he’s found guilty. He will go to court again on September 25.
Lauren’s family is devastated by this unexpected loss. They set up a crowdfunding page for her memorial and funeral services, saying about her, “Her four nephews were her whole world. Church was a priority for her. Lauren volunteered and loved the children and youth ministry. She enjoyed fashion and loved finding great deals at Target. Lauren loved her dog, Cooper, like he was her child. She was a very special person to everyone who knew her. The family requests privacy as they cope with this unbearable tragedy.”
Since Coricidin was named by Matthew in the 911 call, the manufacturers Bayer stated, “Patient safety is our top priority, and we continually monitor adverse events regarding all of our products. There is no evidence to suggest that Coricidin is associated with violent behavior.”
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Original by Emily Hingle