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Colorado dentist accused of killing wife by poisoning her protein shakes expected to plead not guilty

A Colorado dentist accused of killing his wife by lacing her protein shakes with poison is expected to plead not guilty to charges including first-degree murder in October, his defense attorneys said Tuesday.

Police said James Craig, who began an affair before his wife’s March 18 death, had searched online for answers to questions such as, “Is arsenic detectable in an autopsy?” and“How to make murder look like a heart attack.” In the following days, Craig’s wife, Angela Craig, then Googled symptoms she was having including vertigo, shaking and cold lips, said District Attorney John Kellner at a July preliminary hearing.

Angela Craig, a mother of six who was married to her husband for 23 years, died of poisoning from cyanide and tetrahydrozoline, the latter a substance found in over-the-counter eye drops, according to the Arapahoe County coroner Kelly Lear.

After Tuesday’s hearing, where James Craig’s arraignment was postponed to Oct. 9, Craig’s defense attorney, Andrew Ho, said he expects a jury trail.

At a previous hearing in July, James Craig’s attorneys argued there was no direct evidence that Craig had slipped poison into his wife’s shakes and accused the lead detective of bias against Craig. Neither the affidavit nor testimony during the hearing addressed how investigators believe Angela Craig was poisoned with tetrahydrozoline.

Craig also was later charged with tampering with evidence but details about that allegation have not been disclosed.

The defense attorneys suggested that Craig, who had previously attempted suicide, had been searching online for ways to kill himself. The case’s lead investigator, Bobbie Olson, acknowledged at the preliminary hearing that testing didn’t find any sign of cyanide or arsenic in two bottles used for shakes.

Investigators allege that Craig, who routinely made protein shakes for his wife, tried poising her shake on March 6 with arsenic. After she survived, Craig ordered a rush shipment of potassium cyanide that he told the supplier was needed for a surgery, according to court documents.

The arrest affidavit said that the investigation into Craig started after his dental practice partner mentioned to a nurse that Craig had ordered potassium cyanide even though they didn’t need it for their work.

Police claim Craig was seeing another woman as his wife was being treated in the hospital. But the woman told ABC’s GMA she didn’t willingly have a relationship with someone who was married.

Angela Craig’s sister, Toni Kofoed, told police that James Craig had drugged his wife about five years ago with an unknown drug because he said he planned to kill himself and did not want her to be able to save him.

Kofoed believes that incident is what James Craig referenced in a series of texts between Angela and James Craig about her symptoms after she first fell ill on March 6. According to the arrest affidavit, James Craig wrote: “Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I am super worried though.”

According to awork bio and videoposted online, Craig taught as an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Dentistry for three years and has been practicing dentistry in the Aurora area since 2006.

Neighbors of the familytold CBS Coloradothey were stunned.

“I keep praying for the kids because they lost both parents at the same time,” said neighbor Karen Lucero.

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