A 46-year-old dermatologist, Yue Yu, has been found guilty of poisoning her husband with a chemical agent in Orange County, California. Based on medical evidence and surveillance video, a grand jury indicted Yu of lacing her husband’s lemonade with a liquid drain cleaner with the intent to kill him, CNN reports.
The jury indicted Yu on three felony counts of poisoning and one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury. If convicted of these charges, she faces eight years and eight months in prison. Her lawyers, however, contend that the dermatologist was not trying to kill her physician husband but was mixing a chemical with lemonade to kill ant infestation.
According to legal documents, Yu’s husband, Jack Chen, found that her morning lemonade tasted funny and he had to see a doctor after he developed symptoms. He was diagnosed and treated for ulcers after which he set up a camera in his kitchen to be able to see his wife preparing his daily meals. He said the camera caught Yu lacing his morning lemonade with Drano drain cleaner on three different occasions.
“I started noticing a chemical taste in my lemonade,” Chen said. “Eventually I developed symptoms that had me see the doctor who performed an examination and diagnosed me with two stomach ulcers, gastritis, and esophagitis.” He added that the cameras caught Yu “pouring Draino [sic] taken from under our kitchen sink and pouring it into my lemonade.”
Chen gave samples of the lemonade to investigators at Irvine Police Department and they passed the samples to the FBI for testing. “The samples were later turned over to the FBI for testing, which confirmed the substance was consistent with liquid drain cleaner,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
Represented by attorneys Scott Simmons and David Dworakowski, Yu’s lawyers said Chen set-up their client to benefit from their divorce case. Since they are both medical doctors, the lawyers said the stakes are high in the pending divorce and Chen is fabricating things to box his wife into a corner.
They argued there was no way he could have drunk a toxic-smelling substance like Drano drain cleaner and that Yu was only trying to mix a chemical substance to kill ants in her kitchen. They contented that Chen was never in ER and that the medical complaints he had were not consistent with that of someone who ingested a chemical cleaner.
“He’s falsely claiming that she’s trying to poison him,” Simmons argued. “Instead of calling 911, he calls a divorce lawyer. Drano is not a covert poisoning agent, it’s got a crazy terrible taste, it burns, your eyes start watering.”
April 18 has been fixed for Yu’s arraignment. She has been mandated to report to the Medical Board of California where the authorities would determine if she would be allowed to continue practicing as a licensed dermatologist.