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Stella Nickell

This Washington state woman convicted of planting cyanide in over-the-counter pain pills, killing her husband and a stranger, lost her federal court appeal in August 1989.

Stella Nickell was sentenced to 90 years in prison on five counts of product tampering in the two June 1986 deaths.

Prosecutors said she poisoned her husband, Bruce, 52, with cyanide-filled extra-strength Excedrin capsules to collect $176,000 in life insurance, and later put bottles of poisoned capsules on store shelves to create the impression of a random killer.

The second victim was a customer of one of the stores, Susan Snow, 40. Three more bottles of contaminated pills were found in stores.

Authorities were ultimately led to Nickell by her daughter, Cynthia Hamilton, who quoted Nickell as talking about killing her husband. A check of a local library found Nickell's fingerprints on four books about cyanide, two of them checked out shortly before the deaths.

Nickell, 68, remains incarcerated in Dublin Federal Correctional Facility in California. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, her projected release date is Dec. 7, 2017.

Source: The Associated Press

Photo: NBC News