Misdemeanor for prankster
A Wells, Vt., woman has been arrested in connection with a 2008 incident in which she was accused of putting Visine into the drink of a co-worker who later died.
Denise M. Moyer, 41, of Cold Springs Road, formerly of Granville, was charged by New York State Police Friday with third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor. She faced possible felony charges based on the outcome of a state police forensic pathologist’s findings, her lawyer said.
Granville attorney Ron Daigle said he was notified recently that his client would not face a more serious charge in relation to the death of Marceline ‘Marcie’ Jones, 49, based on the toxicology results.
“They said there was no way to prove (Visine) played any role in her death,” Daigle said. “She can anticipate some charges being filed for her putting the Visine in the drink sometime in the next few weeks,” he said.
That charge came Friday.
Daigle had said he believed the charge against Moyer would be misdemeanor assault. He said he had not yet spoken to Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright regarding the charge.
“First of all, my client just feels horrible about this; she feels horrible for the family and what happened. She’s not looking for any type of long protracted legal battle; she just wants to take responsibility for the actions that took place,” he said.
Kortright said discussion of a plea deal had not yet taken place.
Jones died two days after Moyer allegedly put Visine into her drink on Halloween. However, the possible connection was not discovered until months later when a co-worker who allegedly witnessed the addition of the eye drops to the drink made the incident known during a workplace dispute.
Moyer told police she believed the eye drops would cause mild illness, most likely diarrhea, when put into a drink after seeing the movie “Wedding Crashers.”
Jones had a history of medical problems prior to her death, which was attributed to natural causes at the time, Daigle said.
Daigle said Jones was well thought of and well liked by her co-workers; she was a friend of his client. He said they exchanged birthday gifts and were close friends.
Moyer was processed and issued an appearance ticket to return July 8, at 6 p.m. in the Town of Granville Court.
According to the Urban Legend authority Snopes.com Web site, the tale of a “Visine Mickey Finn” has been around for decades.
A Mickey Finn is a term used to describe a drink that has been tampered with, usually for the purpose of incapacitating the drinker.
This particular legend puts forth that a few drops of the product will cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort and allegedly is used by cocktail waitresses to rid themselves of problem bar customers.
The actual results of ingestion of the active ingredient in the drops, tetrahydrozoline HCL, can cause, according to the National Institute of Medicine web site: a lowering of the body temperature to dangerous levels, making breathing difficult or stopping it completely; blurring vision; vomiting and headache; elevating and then dropping of blood pressure; and seizures or tremors, sending the person into a coma.
One of the effects not listed is the diarrhea of the legend.
The site does not specify at what level or concentration the effects occur.
Numerous reports also show serious consequences when children ingest the drops, including nearly fatal incidents.
The warning issued on the Pfizer Web page for the product said: “Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.”
According to published media reports from across the country, Visine or similar eye drop products have led to a number of medical incidents that were followed by charges. In several cases charges such as assault have been brought against pranksters for spiking drinks.
When the investigation began, Daigle said his research showed a tremendous amount, much more than a few drops, would be required to cause the death of a person.