A York County wife was charged with murder Friday weeks after her husband died because investigators found that she poisoned her husband, police said.
Lana Sue Clayton, 52, was arrested Friday for the killing of Steven Clayton, said Kevin Tolson, York County Sheriff.
Lana Clayton confessed to surreptitiously poisoning her husband’s water with a chemical called tetrahydrozoline over a three-day period from July 19 to July 21 until he died, arrest warrants in the case show.
Lana Clayton worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Charlotte, according to her Facebook page.
Steven Clayton, 64, died July 21 at his upscale waterfront Island Forks Road home on the South Carolina shore of Lake Wylie. But a toxicology report from Steven Clayton’s autopsy found that he had been poisoned with the chemical that is usually used in over the counter eye drops and nasal sprays.
Poisoning can happen when the chemical is swallowed or ingested, according to The United States Library of medicine website.
Lana Clayton also is charged with malicious tampering of food, according to police.
Steven Clayton was found in the foyer of his home after what appeared to be a fall down the stairs.
Police have not released a motive for the crime. Lana Clayton has no prior criminal record in York County or anywhere in South Carolina, according to South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division records.
Legal action concerning Steven Clayton’s estate after his death has already been opened with his wife appointed personal representative for Steve Clayton’s estate, according to officials with the York County Probate Court. It remains unclear what effect the arrest of Lana Clayton for murder will have on the probate action or how Steven Clayton’s estate will now be disbursed.
The couple lived in a house owned by Steven Clayton and valued at $822,000, according to county records. The lot next door to the home, also owned by Steven Clayton, is valued at $385,000, records show.
The home is a copy of the famous George Washington Mount Vernon estate that Steve Clayton lovingly restored, said Ken Sanford, a Lake Wylie friend.
Sanford, who knew both Steven and Lana Clayton, said he was “in shock” over the news that Lana Clayton confessed to killing her husband.
“I am just stunned,” Sanford said.
Lana Clayton “seemed like a sweet lady,” Sanford said. “Steven was very proud of her accomplishments.”
Lana Clayton worked in nursing for the VA in Charlotte, Sanford said.
Steven Clayton, a Florida native, retired after founding, owning and operating a company called Physical Therapy Resources. The company had branches around the United States, according to Steven Clayton’s obituary.
Clayton was known for his generosity with children and other causes. Clayton, a former wrestling coach, mentored children in sports and other ways over the years.
Steven Clayton also was a member of the Lake Wylie Pilot editorial board, before the weekly community paper closed at the end of 2016.
Lana Clayton’s arrest stunned Frank Keefe, owner of the Bagel Boat in Lake Wylie where Steven Clayton regularly ate a hot pastrami sandwich and was loved by all.
“I am absolutely in a state of shock,” Keefe said Friday afternoon.
At Steven Clayton’s funeral in July, dozens of people spoke about his generosity, Keefe said.
“This is just stunning,” Keefe said of Steven Clayton’s wife being charged in his death.
The arrest of Lana Clayton for murder is the second spousal arrest in a homicide involving a York County couple in less than a month. On Aug. 14, former cop James Baldwin of York was charged with the murder of his wife, Judy.
Baldwin, a former York Police Department officer, is accused of beating his wife to death in Chester County in 2016, then covering up the crime. Baldwin claimed his wife died in a car crash on the way to a hospital after a fall from a ladder while hanging Christmas ornaments, but was charged after police investigated Judy Baldwin’s death for more than a year.
Lana Clayton has not yet appeared before a magistrate. Because she is charged with murder, Lana Clayton can not be issued a bond and will remain in jail.
It is unclear if she has hired a lawyer.
Check back for updates on this developing story.