Judge drops eye drop poisoning case

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD — A judge has dismissed a first-degree assault charge against a woman accused of spiking her husband's tea with Visine eyedrops.

The Springfield News-Leader is reporting that Greene County Associate Circuit Judge Dan Imhof ruled Monday that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to try 40-year-old Tonia Peterson.

Prosecutors alleged she poisoned Cecil Peterson's drink last year with the eyedrops to kill him, but only succeeded in causing him swelling and stomach trouble. She allegedly discussed the poisoning with a co-worker and confessed to police.

But the defense noted that prosecutors had failed to provide expert testimony about whether Visine could cause the symptoms Cecil Peterson suffered.

In dismissing the case, Imhof said, "I think we're missing a witness."

Assistant Greene County Prosecutor Todd Myers says it's too soon to tell whether he'll refile charges.

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