Husband Pleads Guilty to Stabbing Wife 123 times, Blames Cough Medicine

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Matthew Phelps has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife. Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Investigation

A North Carolina husband has pleaded guilty to murdering his wife after stabbing her more than 100 times.

29-year-old Matthew Phelps, of Raleigh, called 911 in September last year to report his wife's death. "I have blood all over me and there's a bloody knife on the bed, and I think I did it," Phelps said in the call. "I can't believe this."

He was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife, 29-year-old Lauren Phelps. Speaking in court on Friday, Phelps said he "feels like a monster... One of the wretched. Part of the darkness we don't speak of." Phelps claims cough medicine influenced his state of mind in the murder. He told Raleigh Police that he had taken too much. "It can make you feel good and sometimes I can't sleep at night."

A blood test confirmed the presence of cough medicine in Phelps' system, but the levels were not high enough to cause hallucinations or even dizziness. He reportedly stabbed Lauren 123 times.

The court room was packed with supporters from among Lauren's friends and family, most of whom wore blue t-shirts with the words "Lauren's Light." Lauren's mother, Laurie Hugelmaier, said her daughter's death had "broken me and my heart."

"I have struggled every day since Sept. 1, 2017 to process and deal with the murder of my child," Hugelmaier said, according to Yahoo! News. "There are times that I feel I won't survive it. The actions of Matthew James Phelps has forever changed me."

Lauren's older sister, Beth Agner, said the family had welcome Matthew into the family with open arms. "He seemed to love Lauren in spite of any flaws she could have and would do anything to make her happy," Agner said. "What we didn't know was that he was playing a game. A very deadly game. He was luring all of us into a trap by taking advantage of our kindness and generosity. We never once thought Lauren was in danger."

Phelps was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He had originally pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to avoid the chance of the death penalty, according to The News & Observer.

According to search warrant documents, Phelps had a fascination with murder. "suspect Matthew Phelps was possibly fascinated with and mimicked a portrayed serial killer character from the movie 'American Psycho'," investigators said. "The movie is about a serial killer and Phelps expressed interest to a friend regarding what it would be like to kill someone."