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Woman suspected of fatally poisoning boyfriend with antifreeze in Powerade and recording him ‘thrashing about’ is ordered to stay behind bars

Judy Church pictured in court.

Judy Church pictured in court on Feb. 9 (image via WVCB screebgrab]

A 64-year-old Salisbury, Massachusetts, woman suspected of murdering her boyfriend by adding antifreeze to his Powerade bottle was ordered Thursday to remain jailed without bail pending trial.

Judy Church, a married woman reportedly going through a “contested divorce,” is accused of fatally poisoning her then-55-year-old boyfriend Leroy Fowler by adding deicing fluid to his bottle of fruit punch Powerade. Investigators reportedly suspect that Church did so because she knew Fowler had been seeing another woman and was angry. In addition, the victim’s son reportedly told police the motive could have been related to a life insurance policy.

NBC Boston, citing court documents, reported that Judy Church called 911 on the night of Nov. 11, 2022, to report that Fowler “must have ingested something.” Prosecutors alleged that Church knew exactly what the “something” was: ethylene glycol.

“Based upon their findings, coupled with Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s determination that ethylene glycol poisoning was the cause of death, an arrest warrant charging Church with murder was obtained on Dec. 22, 2022,” said the Essex District Attorney’s Office. “Ethylene glycol is an industrial compound commonly found in antifreeze, deicing fluid and hydraulic brake fluid.”

The NBC report further said Church told 911 that Fowler was bleeding from his nose, wasn’t able to stand up, and was “pulling the bedroom apart.”

According to NBC Boston, the residence was filled with apparent cleaning agents. Crucially, investigators reportedly found evidence that Fowler’s red Powerade had been poisoned:

During a search of Church’s residence, police said they found a bottle of orange deicing fluid in the kitchen and a bottle of fruit punch Powerade with orange residue in the trash.

A photo found on Church’s phone showed a clear glass filled with orange liquid in a cup holder secured to a wall over the bed where Flower was known to sleep, officials said.

Investigators also reportedly found 13 videos of Fowler “thrashing about” and in medical distress on Church’s phone.

Church told an investigating trooper that she used to joke about poisoning Fowler and that the former couple liked to watch true crime documentaries together, The Eagle-Tribune reported.

Fowler died two days after the incident.

“On November 11, 2022 at approximately 8:02 pm, Church called 911 to request an ambulance for her boyfriend, Leroy Fowler, 46.  Salisbury Police, Fire and EMS responded and found the victim in obvious medical distress,” prosecutors said. “He was initially taken to Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport.  He was transported to Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, and was ultimately brought to Beth Israel Hospital where he died on November 13, 2022.”

In December, Church was arraigned on the murder charge in Newburyport District Court. Church was arraigned again Thursday  — this time in Salem Superior Court — following her recent indictment. Church pleaded not guilty and was denied bail, Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker confirmed.

The development means the defendant will remain in custody until at least March 21, when another bail hearing is scheduled to occur. Prosecutors said Church is currently jailed in Boston at South Bay House of Correction.

Church’s defense attorney Tim Connors, asked by a WCVB reporter about how his client feels about losing Fowler, replied: “Certainly upset, but she maintains she had nothing to do with it.”

You can watch a portion of the Thursday proceedings, plus Connors’ brief remarks, below:

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.