A California dermatologist has pleaded not guilty to charges of poisoning her husband by pouring a “Drano-like” liquid into his tea, causing stomach ulcers. The husband alleges he lived with such abuse for years, amid an acrimonious divorce and child custody battle.
Yue “Emily” Yu, 45, of Irvine, pleaded in court in Orange County, California on Thursday. The pre-trial was scheduled for July 27. She was charged with three counts of poisoning and one count of domestic assault with bodily harm, prosecutors said. Irvine is approximately 45 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
Authorities said it all started in early April 2022, when Yu’s husband noticed a strange taste in his tea, fell ill and suspected his wife was responsible.
He installed cameras in Irvine’s family kitchen to see if he could capture any evidence of why his tea tasted strange, prosecutors said.
Her attorney said her husband told her to put Drano in her cup to fix an ant problem at home.
On July 11, 18 and 25, video caught Yu pouring a substance from a bottle of liquid drain cleaner into her husband’s tea on the counter, officials said.
Her husband collected tea samples and turned them over to the Irvine Police Department. The samples were turned over to the FBI. Tests confirmed the substance was compatible with the liquid drain cleaner, prosecutors said.
Irvine police arrested Yu in August on suspicion of poisoning. She was released from jail after posting $30,000 bond.
The husband has recovered, his attorney Steven Hittelman told Law&Crime. The case follows years of domestic abuse by Yu, even using their children’s sleep deprivation as punishment, court documents have revealed.
In August, a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Yu that temporarily barred her from seeing her children, Hittelman said.
Yu’s attorney, Scott Simmons, said the husband set up the cameras to allow his wife to get the upper hand in their custody dispute, the Orange County Register reported.
“He then sets her up after he knows she’s going to,” Simmons said, according to the newspaper. “He’s setting up what he calls spy cameras to capture her pouring the Drano into the tea. The backdrop to all of this, of course, is the high-stakes divorce litigation that’s unfolding right now.
Yu faces up to eight years and eight months in prison if convicted on all counts, officials said. She must register with the Medical Board of California, which will determine whether she will be allowed to continue practicing medicine. A check of the Medical Council’s website on Friday showed her status as active to practice medicine.
The registry said Yu can practice medicine while awaiting trial under a state agreement.
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