Murder suspect says he took too much cold medicine, then woke to find his wife dead

The conversation between Matthew James Phelps and the 911 dispatcher he phoned just after 1:10 a.m. Friday sounded almost clinical.

Phelps gives the dispatcher his northeast Raleigh address, name and phone number.

“Tell me exactly what happened,” the dispatcher said to him.

Phelps sighed and replied, “I think I killed my ..,” according to a 911 recording made public Friday afternoon.

Raleigh police charged Phelps, 29, with murder a little after 6 a.m. Friday, said police spokeswoman Laura Hourigan, after finding his wife, Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps, also 29, mortally stabbed at the townhouse where they lived in the 5200 block of Patuxent Drive.

She was rushed to WakeMed, where she was pronounced dead, Hourigan reported.

The couple had been married less than a year, according to their Facebook pages.

On the 911 call, the dispatcher asked Phelps had happened.

“I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” Phelps said.

“How? How? How?” the dispatcher asked.

“There’s blood all over me, and there’s a bloody knife on the bed. I think I did it.”

“OK,” the dispatcher said after a long pause, then told Phelps to stay on the phone.

“I can’t believe I did this,” Phelps said. “I can’t believe I did this.”

Phelps told the dispatcher that his wife was not breathing and that he did not know whether she was beyond help because he was scared to get close to her.

Phelps said he had taken cold medicine before going to sleep and that he did not know what time it was.

“I took more medicine that I should have. I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good and sometimes I can’t sleep at night.”

Phelps later told the dispatcher the blood he had on him was dried.

“Oh my God,” Phelps said. “Oh God. She didn’t deserve this. Why?”

Less than 10 hours before her death, a bespectacled Lauren Phelps had posted a video on her Facebook page where she was smiling and touting a product she was selling for Scentsy, the candle company whose products she sold.

Matthew Phelps worked at Dunlap Lawn Service and graduated from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in 2011 in Pineville, Ky., where he studied mission and evangelism, according to his Facebook page.

The couple enjoyed “Star Wars” paraphernalia and are seen on Facebook wearing “Star Wars” gear and posing with the movie’s furry Chewbacca. There is also a picture on Facebook of the happy couple dancing with light sabers during the reception that followed their Nov. 13 wedding last year.

Phelps did not have a criminal record, state records show.

Police transported Phelps to the Wake County jail. He is being held without benefit of bail, a jail spokesman said Friday afternoon.

He will make his first court appearance Tuesday, a spokeswoman at the Wake County Clerk of Court said Friday afternoon.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald