Lana Sue Clayton, a former nurse from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, received her sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter and tampering with a food or medicine. She was initially charged with murder but accepted a court settlement.
Prosecutors said the 53-year-old woman said she gave her husband, Steven Clayton, drinks with Visine unbeknownst to him for three days in July 2018 at his home in Clover, near Charlotte, North Carolina.
She claimed that her husband was abusive and did not intend to kill him.
"I impulsively put Visine in Steven's drink, but I did it to make him uncomfortable …" Clayton said in court. "I never thought that would kill him."
Two years before the poisoning, Clayton shot her husband in the back of the head with a crossbow, WCNC-TV reported. She said it was an accident but later stated that she shot him while fleeing after he threw something at her during an argument.
Authorities said Clayton intended to kill her husband for inheritance money and destroyed her will. The couple lived on a $ 1 million property and Steven Clayton, a retired Florida businessman, had more than $ 1 million in assets.
He was the founder, president and CEO of Physical Therapy Resources, a national company with US affiliates, until his retirement in 1995, his online company. obituary say.
"How can you argue that you did this to teach you a lesson, when it is obvious from the facts you let him suffer for three days," Judge Paul Burch told Clayton in court. "You ignored him."
Robert Gearty of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.