A new autopsy report, released Tuesday morning, reveals that the aspiring pastor who allegedly killed his wife while high on cough syrup stabbed her 123 times times.
Matthew James Phelps, 28, called police and confusedly confessed to murdering his wife, later saying he was under the influence of cough syrup. After giving his name, address and phone number, he said, “I think I killed my ..,” before trailing off, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.
Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps, 29, was found fatally stabbed at the townhouse where they both lived. She was covered in blood and found in a fetal position. The two had been married less than a year.
“I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” Matthew told police. “There’s blood all over me, and there’s a bloody knife on the bed. I think I did it.”
He has since been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
According to the new coroner’s report, Lauren suffered over 40 knife wounds to her neck. Thirteen stab wounds and 11 cuts were also found on her torso. The young woman suffered 35 cuts in addition to three stab wounds to her left arm. Her right arm had 16 cuts and one stab wound, as reported by PEOPLE. An empty box of Coricidin HBP Cold and Cough was found at the home. It remains unclear how much the aspiring pastor consumed.
Matthew has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he potentially faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole. His attorney, Joseph Cheshire, urged the public to not rush to conclusions during Matthew’s first court appearance.
“It’s a very tragic situation — sad and tragic. And at the same time, we have to ask everybody to withhold judgement in this particular case until we know more and we’re able to develop more,” Cheshire said, according to local TV station WRAL. “There’s a lot to this story I believe that will be told in the future.”