GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – A man facing charges related to the murder of his wife after she died from poisoning over a year ago, will not face the death penalty.

A Gaston County judge approved the state prosecutor’s announcement that they would be moving forward non-capitally because there is no evidence of aggravated factors in the case.

Joshua Hunsucker, 35, was charged with first-degree murder after an investigation led police to believe that he was responsible for the Sept. 2018 death of his wife, Stacy Hunsucker.

According to The Gaston County Sheriff’s Office website, Hunsucker was released from jail on Dec. 24, 2019 at 5:29 p.m. He was being held on $1.5 million bond.

Hunsucker, a former paramedic with Atrium Health, is believed to have given his wife doses of tetrahydrozoline, a product commonly found in eye drops and which can cause heart stoppages. Officials say Hunsucker is no longer employed by Atrium, effective Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.

Stacy Hunsucker passed away in September 2018 and at the time the cause of death was listed as death by natural causes.

Prosecutors stated that they believed Hunsucker committed the murder in order to collect over $200,000 in life insurance money from his wife’s death.

A number of vials of blood were held by a private company that handles tissue and organ donation at the time of Hunsucker’s death. These were taken from her prior to her cremation.

Agent Lisa Morgan with the Department of Insurance and the medical examiner pulled that blood, tested it and found that it tested for “very high levels” of that tetrahydrozoline

The Department of Insurance subsequently found ‘other people’ to be at fault for the victim’s death and rule out suicide as a cause.

In a statement, the parents of Stacy Hunsucker said:

To our friends, family, church family and community, we thank you for your unwavering support, friendship and guidance since Stacy’s passing on September 23, 2018. Without your thoughts and prayers, we could not have made it through our first storm. We understand and appreciate the emotions that Mr. Hunsucker’s arrest has caused, especially to those who were close to Stacy. We ask that you honor Stacy’s memory by taking the high road as we begin our journey through the second storm.

To the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Criminal Investigations Division, and especially Special Agent Lisa Morgan, we thank you for taking the time to listen and investigate our concerns.

Thank you for having faith in us and pursuing every lead until Stacy’s cause of death was finally revealed. We owe you a great debt of gratitude for your compassion and your diligent efforts to find the truth.

To the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office, we appreciate all of your assistance. Without you, we would not have been able to procure Stacy’s blood samples.

To our daughter, Stacy, your mother and father promise you that we will not rest until justice is served. We will do everything in our power to support and care for your beautiful daughters, Piper and Willow. We will love them as we loved, and still love you. We will never let your children forget what a truly amazing mother you were to them. Your spirit and your smile live on through them every day.

We have trusted God’s timing and will continue to praise and trust Him in the midst of this situation.”

A judge issued a temporary restraining order forbidding Hunsucker from using any more of the life insurance money, any assets purchased with the money or interest on the couple’s home.

The restraining order allows Stacy’s estate to recover assets if the court determines the life insurance money was wrongfully retained by her husband.

Hunsucker’s next hearing is scheduled for May 4.

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