In 2015, more than five years after the tragic death of Raymond Kotomski, his ex-wife Teresa Kotomski was sentenced to life in prison. Accusations followed her over the the years until her final conviction in court. Dateline: Secrets Uncovered is set to revisit the controversial and disputed murder trial this week.
Teresa was arrested and tried in court in 2014 after her ex-husband succumbed to antifreeze poisoning. Reportedly, Raymond was found in distress at his Pierpoint, Ohio home by his ex-wife's mother, who went to check on him upon her request. Teresa claimed that she had failed to get in touch with her ex-husband, which is why her mother had to go visit him.
When the former corrections officer was taken to the hospital, the doctors declared that he was brain dead and suggested pulling the plug, an offer which the victim's family immediately denied. However, Teresa insisted on doing so, and took the ultimate decision in the absence of his family. She even insisted on classifying the incident as the outcome of a suicide attempt.
However, investigators and authorities picked up the case as a homicide and found a container of antifreeze in the garage without any fingerprints during a house search. This led them to completely rule out the apparent suicide theory and believe that Kotomski was murdered by none other than his ex-wife.
Let's explore the murder trial ahead of the premiere of the latest episode of Dateline: Secrets Uncovered, titled Something Sweet, on June 8.
The synopsis of the episode reads:
"On a warm August day, Ray Kotomski quenched his thirst with a cool drink. Kotomski was dead within hours. Investigators had to figure out what killed the happily retired Pennsylvania man, and also whether this was even a crime at all."
Where is Teresa Kotomski now?
At first, there was no evidence that directly connected Teresa to the crime that had been committed. After a couple of years had passed, there were still no new leads to follow up on, with Teresa allegedly walking away with a fortune of $200,000 from Raymond's property shortly after his death. It wasn't long until she had a new place to call home for herself, her grandkids, and a new live-in partner.
Authorities reopened the probe in 2012, requesting the assistance of a special prosecutor to analyze the evidence and determine whether or not it could be brought to trial. Soon after, Raymond's death was brought to light as a murder case, with investigators bringing in Teresa for a re-interview. The latter retaliated by hiring a lawyer to avoid conversations with the authorities.
After detectives reported that they had sufficient evidence to move the case forward, Teresa Kotomski was arrested in March 2014, nearly five years after Raymond's death. As soon as she was brought to trial, Teresa asserted that she was innocent and entered a not guilty plea. Despite this, the court did not rule in her favour and instead found her guilty of murder.
In 2015, Teresa Kotomski was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. She insists to this day that she did not murder her husband, and claims that he died of uncontrolled diabetes. A clear adamancy was shown and the judge refused to accept her pleas. She remains locked behind bars in Montgomery County, Ohio, where she will be up for parole in 2030.
Did Teresa Kotomski kill her ex-husband Raymond Kotomski?
Prosecutors suggested that Teresa Kotomski murdered ex-husband Raymond Kotomski as a way to avoid a drawn-out divorce so she would not have to wait for a settlement. The defense attorney was successful in persuading Teresa to submit to a bench trial, which involved the exclusion of the twelve jurors and the restriction of evidence hearing to the judge alone.
While autopsopy reports stated that Raymond's blood contained ethylene glycol, which is used to produce antifreeze, Teresa made contradictory allegations claiming that the victim was an alcoholic with a severe diabetic problem. Her statements were false, as suggested by the hospital and the postmortem toxicology exam which stated the opposite.
Although Teresa Kotomski was declared not guilty of contaminating anything that the victim may have consumed, the judge convicted her for the murder of Raymod Kotomski.
The upcoming episode of Dateline: Secrets Uncovered arrives this Wednesday, June 8, 2022.