A Michigan man who poisoned his wife by spiking her coffee has received a 60-day jail sentence to be served on weekends, plus five years probation. Mount Clemons resident Brian Michael Kozlowski, 46, pleaded no contest last June to the felony charge of placing harmful objects in food. He was sentenced by Judge Antonio Viviano on August 1.
Criminal guidelines call for a minimum sentence of 19-39 months. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Darra Slanec called the judge’s decision “a slap in the face” to the victim. Prosecutors say they are already working on an appeal.
Here’s what you need to know about Brian Kozlowski.
1. Brian Kozlowski Poisoned His Wife over Several Weeks so “She Wouldn’t Run Around all Night”
The poisoning began in July 2018, around the time his now ex-wife Therese began divorce proceedings. Over several weeks, Brian Kozlowski drugged her coffee by adding eight diphenhydramine pills to the brew. Diphenhydramine is an over-the-counter antihistamine and sleep aid.
Therese recalled that she would feel tired and nauseous after drinking coffee prepared by her husband. The couple’s adult daughter also drank the tainted coffee just before leaving for work. Both women claim they almost crashed after getting behind the wheel. Therese said she nearly passed out while driving on the highway.
“This defendant’s actions were despicable. We are all thankful this sneak attack didn’t cause the victim to fall asleep behind the wheel on her way to work killing herself and/or innocent drivers,” Prosecutor Eric Smith wrote in a public statement.
Brian Kozlowski admitted to committing the crime after becoming depressed over the couple’s impending divorce and his wife’s repeated insults. He was also worried Therese might be having an affair and drugged her so she wouldn’t “run around all night.’”
“Brian’s continuous, methodical, and calculated plot to poison me included a complete disregard for human life, including his own daughter, along with hundreds of other drivers who he put at risk every day for weeks,” Therese Kozlowski told the court.
“I believe this was attempted murder. Once Brian realized he lost me and there was no getting me to stay in this unhealthy marriage, his goal was to eliminate me.”
2. Therese Kozlowski Caught Her Husband by Placing Hidden Cameras in the Kitchen
Suspecting she was being poisoned, Therese Kozlowski installed hidden cameras throughout her kitchen. The footage captured her husband dissolving the diphenhydramine pills in a shot glass, pouring the drug into the coffee pot, then swirling the mixture around in the pot.
She described her fear when she was secretly videotaping her husband. “I spent every day terrified every day he would catch me and every night sleepless in fear he would see the cameras and come into our bedroom and hurt me.”
3. Therese Kozlowski Believes Her Ex-Husband’s Motive Was Money
Therese Kozlowski, who makes $180,000 annually working for a large firm, said the attempt on her life was committed for financial gain. Her death would have allowed her now ex-husband to collect $1 million in life insurance, retirement and savings accounts.
“Brian was trying to kill me to keep his comfortable life from slipping away,” she said. “Clearly, financial gain was the tip of his sword.”
4. The Judge Said Brian Kozlowski Had “A Sense of Remorse”
“I am truly sorry for what I did, I deeply would like to apologize to my ex-wife for everything I’ve done, and my family,” Brian Kozlowski told Viviano.
Judge Viviano described Brian Kozlowski as having “a sense of remorse,” adding, “He does have an understanding of the seriousness of this matter.” Prosecutor Slanec countered, saying the only reason Brian Kozlowski was depressed was that he’d been caught and faced a potentially lengthy jail sentence.
Viviano initially considered just giving Brian Kozlowski probation, but decided on the 60-day sentence after hearing Therese Kozlowski’s victim impact statement. “Miss Kozlowski’s statement was moving,” the judge said. “I was moved by Miss Kozlowski’s statement. She did suffer. She did suffer because of the actions of this man. Whatever she did, she doesn’t deserve that,” he added.
The case was originally assigned to Chief Judge Biernat in December of 2018. After two separate defense attorneys made unsuccessful attempts to reach a plea deal, the case was transferred to the retired visiting judge, Viviano.
“This defendant deserves nothing less than a prison cell for his actions and that is what we will be stressing to Judge Viviano Thursday morning or we will be appealing the sentence, plain and simple,” Smith wrote in a July 31 news release.
The Macomb Daily reported that Viviano was critical of Smith for discussing his sentencing concerns with the media. “I certainly am not allowed give up this gentleman’s right to an individualized sentence due to pressure being put on the court by outside forces,” he said. “That is not proper,” Viviano said.
5. Therese Kozlowski Claims Her Ex-Husband Previously Tried to Poison Her
Therese Kozlowski said this wasn’t the only time her ex had tried to poison her. She said he placed laxatives in her protein shake and Adderall in her vodka when the couple was spent time together on their boat. Adderall is a drug commonly used to treat attention deficit disorder.
Court documents noted that Brian Kozlowski had also been secretly urinating in his now ex-wife’s shampoo and conditioner.
“To think that the man I fell in love with at 16 years old and have three beautiful children with would endanger my life was unbelievable,” she said.