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Ex-paramedic, accused of using eyedrops to kill wife, also set copter fire, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say

Ex-paramedic, accused of using eyedrops to kill wife, also set copter fire, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say

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CHARLOTTE — Joshua Hunsucker’s criminal record is not a long one, but the pending charges against him are nothing short of bizarre.

The 36-year-old Mount Holly man faces a first-degree murder trial in Gaston County, where the former Atrium Health paramedic is accused of administering an overdose of eye drops to trigger the fatal heart attack of his wife. Hunsucker filed for the benefits of his wife’s life-insurance policy two days after her death.

Stacy Hunsucker, a 32-year-old mother of two, died on Sept. 23, 2018. Her husband was arrested in 2019, shortly before Christmas. He was freed on $1.5 million bond.

Now he’s back in the news in an unexpected way.

A month before his arrest in connection to his wife’s killing, Hunsucker intentionally set a piece of equipment on fire inside a hospital helicopter that was in mid-flight, forcing an emergency landing in east Charlotte, according to a new Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report.

After an investigation that went on for more than a year, Hunsucker was charged Monday with felony burning personal property, which the police report identifies as a “syringe pump.” The incident took place about 1 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2019.

Hunsucker was booked and released Monday on an unsecured $50,000 bond, Mecklenburg County Jail records indicate. His next court date is May 18.

According to the police report, the incident was reported to police by Jason Schwebach, Atrium’s vice president of mobile medicine. The hospital chain fired Hunsucker after he was charged with murder in his wife’s death.

In a statement to the Observer, the hospital decried the details of their former employee’s most recent arrest.

“Nothing is more important for our emergency medical crews than safety — especially for those who are in flight. If what Mr. Hunsucker is charged with is true, it is unfathomable to us what may have possessed him to endanger himself and others in such a way,” the hospital said in the said. “We are extremely thankful that our pilot was able to land safely and that no-one was injured and especially grateful that there were no patients on board.”

Death by Visine

In the murder case, Stacy Hunsucker supposedly died of a heart attack. But, as the Observer reported at the time, Joshua Hunsucker would not allow an autopsy before his wife’s body was cremated. He then collected on a $250,000 life-insurance policy tied to her death.

A subsequent investigation by the state Department of Insurance — which again lasted for more than a year — led to the discovery of several vials of the dead woman’s blood being stored by a company involved in organ donation.

According to investigators, Stacy Hunsucker’s blood contained abnormally high levels of a decongestant, tetrahydrozoline, which is an active ingredient in eye drops that eliminates redness.

But in extreme doses, the chemical can quickly bring on heart failure.

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