Man receives three-year sentence in poisoning case

Michael Sweeney

WOODSTOCK – A man convicted of poisoning his wife with rubbing alcohol has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Michael Stanley Sweeney, 58, formerly of 208 Hoover Road, Woodstock, pleaded no contest in March. Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp imposed an overall sentence Wednesday of 13 years, 10 of which were suspended.

Authorities said laboratory tests of vodka taken from a bottle in Sweeney’s home showed it contained rubbing alcohol. Sweeney was arrested in March 2015 after the lab tests were conducted. The investigation began when someone reported to the Sheriff’s Office that Sweeney’s wife had been feeling ill over a period of several weeks in the fall of 2014.

Defense attorney David Downes said Friday that 19 letters to Hupp from family members, friends and acquaintances of Sweeney helped his client avoid a longer sentence.

Pamela Sweeney said in her letter that she and Michael Sweeney have been married 25 years.

“I do not believe Mike has or would try to harm me,” she wrote.

Michael Sweeney’s brother-in-law, William Kellaris, wrote that he was shocked upon learning that a man he described as a “kind, charitable and gentle person,” had been accused of poisoning his sister.

“Given my experience with him, I can only conclude that Mike, responding as a flawed and fallen human, fell prey to emotions and temptations that all too often lead men to wrong thoughts, wrong judgments and wrong actions,” Kellaris wrote. “At the very least, all of the behaviors leading to the charge against and conviction of Mr. Sweeney are extreme aberrations in an otherwise peaceful, law abiding, productive life.”

Downes said in an interview there was “no proof” that Pamela Sweeney drank from the bottle of tainted vodka.

“There was nothing corroborating that she actually suffered any adverse consequences from rubbing alcohol,” Downes said.

Sweeney’s sentence included five years probation, two of them supervised.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com