Man who claims he killed wife in cough medicine-induced stupor was aspiring preacher

The North Carolina man accused of killing his wife in a cough syrup-induced stupor was an aspiring preacher and Star Wars devotee who had a lightsaber fight at his wedding.

More information emerged Tuesday about Matthew Phelps, 29, who is accused of stabbing his wife Lauren Hugelmaier, also 29, several times after taking Coricidin, a cough and cold medicine. He admitted to authorities he took the medicine because it made him “feel good” and it would help him sleep.

According to their wedding page, the couple went to middle school together and reconnected years later thanks to Instagram. They started dating around 2014 and married in November 2016.

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Their Facebook pages show a shared loved for all things Star Wars, with several photos showing them dressed up as characters, going to see the most recent film installments -- and even having a lightsaber fight during their wedding reception.

Phelps worked at a landscaping company and studied missions and evangelism at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, Ky., his Facebook page said.

According to her obituary, Hugelmaier was an active member of Hope Lutheran Church “where she loved working with the Children’s and Youth Ministries.”

Ryker Hampton, who worked at the North Carolina church, said in a Facebook post that Hugelmaier was a “superstar volunteer.”

“You showed up every youth night and every event ready to turn whatever dumb idea I had into a reality. I’m thankful for that,” he wrote. “I get to see you again one day and that’s keeping me going. You finished your race and you finished well. I promise I’ll do the same. And hopefully, I’ll figure out a few more escape games along the way.”

According to her obituary, Hugelmaier was also an auditor with Quintiles, however, her biggest passion appeared to be her personal side business with Scentsy. Just hours before her death, Lauren posted a video on Facebook promoting the business.

A memorial page was set up on to help her family.

“Lauren Hugelmaier’s life tragically ended on September 1, 2017. She was only 29 years old. As we grieve Lauren’s loss, there are financial challenges that lie ahead,” the fund’s creator, Valerie Hoy, wrote. “This fund will be used to help ease the financial burden for her grieving family. Any amount big or small will be greatly appreciated.”

Phelps, who does not have a criminal record, has been charged in his wife’s murder. He is currently held at Wake County Jail without bail.