Stephen Hricko was murdered by his wife, Kim Hricko, who staged his death to make it look like an accident. Secrets of the Morgue on Investigation Discovery covers the case.
When Stephen, 35, noticed his nine-year marriage to Kim was falling apart, he did what he thought would rekindle their relationship. He booked a romantic getaway at Harbourtowne Resort in St. Michaels, Maryland, for Valentine’s Day in 1998, according to his journal entry.
The couple, who shared a daughter together, attended a dinner-theater murder mystery called The Bride Who Cried—it was about a woman who put poison in her husband’s champagne.
Kim, a surgical technician, stated that her husband had a lot to drink that night and was “demanding sex.”
When she refused, Kim told police that they got into an argument. Afterward, she got in her vehicle and took a drive.
Kim said she returned to the room around 1:30 a.m. the following day, and noticed thick smoke emitting from the room.
She went to the front desk with a cell phone against her ear and told an employee that her room was on fire.
An employee and a hotel guest went to the couple’s room and spotted Stephen’s feet through the smoke and pulled him out.
They were unable to save Stephen. He died after sustaining
Kim told authorities that since he drank heavily, he must have accidentally set the bedspread on fire.
However, an autopsy revealed that Stephen did not have alcohol in his system and that he was “dead or not breathing” before the fire broke out.
A trained Labrador retriever named Bear later detected an accelerant where Stephen was found.
Detectives treated Stephen’s death as a homicide.
Three months later, Kim was arrested.
Kim’s friend, Jennifer Gowen, visited her in jail. When Stephen’s life insurance money came up during their conversation, Kim stated that she “doesn’t care what anybody says, it wasn’t for the money.”
Her response led investigators to question her involvement in Stephen’s death.
During the trial, prosecutor Robert Dean claimed Kim injected her husband “with the powerful drug succinylcholine chloride to stop his breathing” before setting fire to their hotel room.
After three hours of deliberation, a jury found Kim guilty of first-degree murder and arson.
Judge William Horne sentenced Kim to life in prison plus 30 years for setting fire to the hotel room.
She appealed but in the fall of
Secrets of the Morgue – My Bloody Valentine, airs at 10:00 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.