Dentist accused of poisoning wife made incriminating searches, cop testifies
A Colorado dentist accused of killing his wife searched online for answers to questions such as "is arsenic detectable in an autopsy?" and "how to make murder look like a heart attack" a few weeks before she died, a police detective testified Wednesday.
James Craig conducted the searches on a computer in an exam room at his dental practice in late February in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Detective Bobbi Olson said. The searches came just before his wife, Angela Craig, made repeated trips to hospitals in March complaining of symptoms including dizziness, vomiting and confusion that puzzled doctors, Arapahoe County coroner Kelly Lear said during a hearing to determine if Craig will stand trial for first-degree murder.
Police believe Craig, 45, laced his wife's pre-workout protein shakes with poison so he could pursue a relationship with another woman, according to court documents. He has yet to be asked to enter a plea to the charge.
Lear determined through blood tests that Angela Craig died because she had been poisoned with cyanide and tetrahydrozoline, a substance found in over-the-counter eye drops.
Police have called James Craig's alleged plot a "heinous, complex and calculated murder."
Craig's lawyer, David M. Beller, declined to comment on the allegations against his client before the hearing.
Craig, dressed in an orange jail uniform, listened to testimony in a courtroom filled with Angela Craig's relatives as well as his parents.
Angela Craig died March 18 after being taken off life support during her third trip to the hospital. She was married to her husband for 23 years and the mother of six children, according to her obituary.
She died "after a brief but heroic struggle," the obituary reads.
As she languished in the hospital, with doctors unable to figure out what was wrong, police alleged her husband was meeting another woman, fellow dentist Karin Cain, who flew from Texas to visit him. Police began investigating James Craig after his dental practice partner and friend, Ryan Redfearn, told a nurse that Craig had ordered potassium cyanide even though they did not need it for their work, according to an arrest warrant laying out evidence gathered by investigators.
Cain, an orthodontist, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she had been in the process of divorcing her husband of almost 30 years when she met James Craig at a dental conference in February. She said they were together for three weeks. Cain said she didn't willingly have a relationship with someone who was married and she doesn't like being called Craig's "mistress."
"I don't like that label," Cain said. "If I had known what was true, I would not have been with this person."
Asked whether she thought Craig killed his wife to be with her, Cain said they hadn't been planning a future together.
"There's no way I'm motive," she said.
Investigators believe James Craig put arsenic in one of the protein shakes he routinely made for his wife for their workouts on March 6 and then, after she survived, he ordered a rush shipment of potassium cyanide that he told the supplier was needed for a surgery. James Craig had asked an office manager not to open that package but another employee did, leading to its discovery and eventual disclosure to authorities, the document says.
Testimony has not yet revealed how Angela Craig became poisoned with tetrahydrozoline.
The delivery of a third substance he is accused of ordering, Oleandrin, was intercepted by authorities after they began investigating him, the document says. Oleandrin is a poisonous substance found in the leaves of the oleander plant.
James Craig told Redfearn that he ordered the potassium cyanide for his wife and told a social worker that she had been suicidal and depressed since he asked for a divorce in December, although neither of their children said anything about suicide attempts, according to the arrest affidavit.
Redfearn also told investigators that James Craig was on the verge of bankruptcy and had been having problems in his marriage, according to the document. Angela Craig's sister, Toni Kofoed, told police that James Craig had drugged his wife about five years ago with an unknown drug because he said he planned to kill himself and did not want her to be able to save him.
Kofoed believes that incident is what James Craig referenced in a series of texts between Angela and James Craig about her symptoms after she first fell ill on March 6. According to the arrest affidavit, James Craig wrote: "Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn't drug you. I am super worried though."
According to a work bio and video posted online, Craig taught as an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Dentistry for three years and has been practicing dentistry in the Aurora area since 2006.
Neighbors of the family told CBS Colorado they were stunned.
"I keep praying for the kids because they lost both parents at the same time," said neighbor Karen Lucero.