Local News

'There's a lot to this story' attorney says of cough medicine defense

Posted September 5, 2017 3:10 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh woman's family was in court Tuesday afternoon as her husband, and accused killer, made his first appearance in front of Wake County judge.

Matthew James Phelps, 27, is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps, 29.

Officers responded to a report of a stabbing in the 5200 block of Patuxent Drive shortly before 1:15 a.m. on Friday where they found Lauren Phelps wounded. She was taken to WakeMed, where she died.

"I had a dream, and then I turn on the lights and she's dead on the floor," Matthew Phelps told a 911 dispatcher. "I have blood all over me, and there's a bloody knife on the bed, and I think I did it."

He told the dispatcher he took too much Coricidin cough medicine Thursday night to help him sleep.

Matthew Phelps was accompanied during his first court appearance by his defense attorney Joe Cheshire.

"Matthew's family and everyone at my firm really send our condolences to the young lady who died. It's a very tragic situation, sad and tragic," Cheshire said. "At the same time we have to ask everyone to withhold judgment in this particular case until we know more and we're able to develop more. There's a lot to this story I believe will be told in the future."

Friends say Matthew Phelps had recently become very dark as evidenced by recent posts to an Instagram account, but neighbors remained in shock.

"...I saw them come and go, but never a hint of any problems," said Steve Whitaker, a former president of the homeowner's association of the community where the couple lived. "It's a shock, a young woman losing her life like that.”

Lauren Phelps was laid to rest Monday at Hope Lutheran Church in Wake Forest, where she was an active member of the congregation. She was also an auditor at Quintiles, according to her obituary, and a 2011 graduate of Appalachian State University.

Matthew Phelps graduated from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Kentucky in 2011 and worked for Dunlap Lawn Service.

The Phelpses had been married less than a year.

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