York Co. SC wife charged in husband’s poison death had tried suicide, left notes

Lana Sue Clayton
Lana Sue Clayton York County Sheriff's Office

The York County wife arrested and charged with the fatal poisoning of her husband tried to kill herself with gas fumes the day before she was charged, a police report shows.

Lana Sue Clayton, 52, was charged late last week with the murder of Steven Clayton, 64, after she received medical treatment, police said. Lana Clayton confessed to killing her husband with the chemical called tetrahydrozoline found in eye drops, police and arrest warrants state. Lana Clayton could face the death penalty if convicted.

Trent Faris, spokesperson for the York County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed Lana Clayton was the person police found in an “attempted suicide” Aug. 30 around 7 a.m. in the couple’s upscale home on Island Forks Road on Lake Wylie.

A neighbor had found “suicidal notes” from Clayton on a deck table outside the home, a sheriff’s office report shows. The neighbor found a sheriff’s office detective’s business card and called the detective directly, Faris said.

Police found “several suicidal notes” on the back deck table and seized the notes as evidence in what at the time was an ongoing murder investigation into Steven Clayton’s death, the report shows.

Police, firefighters and EMS arrived the morning of Aug. 30 after the neighbor found the suicide notes. When officers opened the back door, “we were overwhelmed by the fumes...,” police said in the report.

Officials found Lana Clayton “breathing but unconscious” in an upstairs bedroom, the incident report states.

Lana Clayton was transported to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, the report states.

Officers said neighbors had last seen Lana Clayton about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 29. Clayton had asked the neighbors to watch over the couple’s dogs.

“She was very distraught,” neighbors told police.

Faris declined to say what was in the suicidal notes. However, Faris confirmed police had spoken to Lana Clayton about her husband’s death before the incident.

Warrants obtained before her arrest state Lana Clayton confessed to the crime to police before she was charged.

“She was brought in for questioning after the toxicology report came back,” Faris said.

Toxicology reports finished last week stated Steven Clayton died July 21 from homicide after he was poisoned for three days by the eye drops his wife put in his water, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said.

Faris confirmed police found eye drops bottles at the home. The bottles were taken into evidence, Faris said.

When police found Steven Clayton dead at the foot of stairs July 21, Lana Clayton said he had been ill for days with vertigo.

Lana and Steven Clayton lived at 4586 Island Forks Road on Lake Wylie. York County Sheriff's Office arrested and charged Lana Clayton on Friday with murder of her husband, who died July 21 from poisoning, police said.

The poisoning death is not the first time Lana Clayton had been involved in actions that harmed her husband. Lana Clayton had shot her husband in the head with a crossbow as he slept in 2016, but no charges were filed after both she and her husband said the shooting was an accident, another police report shows.

Yet after police charged Lana Clayton in connection with the murder, officials said police and prosecutors are looking into the totality of the couple’s relationship that dates includes the 2016 incident.

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.

* Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the neighbor did not call 911 but instead called a York County Sheriff’s Office detective directly.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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