He was entrusted with their care when they were most vulnerable, but prosecutors say William Davis secretly hunted recovering patients undergoing heart surgery at a Texas hospital where he worked as a nurse by injecting air into their arteries.
Authorities said four patients who were later injected by Mr. Davis died, their once hopeful condition deteriorating rapidly and puzzling doctors. According to them, he injected at least seven patients.
On Tuesday, a jury in Tyler, Texas, after an hour of deliberation, found Mr. Davis guilty of gross murder in the deaths of four men. The verdict was upheld by Kaylee Khan, administrator of the 114th District Court, who said the sentencing phase would begin on Wednesday.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Mr Davis, 37, who worked at Frances ‘Mother Frances’ Hospital in Tyler at a time when patients were experiencing complications from heart surgery in 2017 and 2018. He was fired about a month before his arrest in April. 2018. Tyler is approximately 100 miles east of Dallas.
During the trial, prosecutors presented a portrait of Mr. Davis as a sadist caring for him, who slipped into patient rooms when no one was looking and “enjoyed” injecting air into their arteries, causing fatal brain damage.
Doctors were unable to explain what could have gone wrong until, according to authorities, they saw a CT scan that showed air in the patients’ brains. During the trial, prosecutors showed CCTV footage of Mr. Davis entering a patient’s room. Three minutes later, the patient’s heart rate monitor sounded. He later died.
“It turns out the hospital is the perfect place to hide for a serial killer,” Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman said during the trial.
The victims were: Ronald Clark, 68; Christopher Greenway, 47 Joseph Kalina, 58 years old; and John Lafferty, 74.
The Smith County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Tuesday due to the ongoing trial of the case, which began on September 28.
Philip Hayes, attorney for Mr. Davis who lives in Hallsville, Texas, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
During the trial, Mr. Hayes argued that all of the deceased patients had signs of a stroke, a type of stroke that occurs when the vulnerable border regions of the brain supplied by the three main cerebral arteries do not receive enough blood. Calling Mr. Davis the scapegoat, Mr. Hayes also said that the patients had comorbidities before they died.
“I don’t know if there is any evidence that it was foul play,” Mr. Hayes said during his trial.
A spokesperson for Christus Mother Frances Hospital said in an email on Wednesday that protecting the health and well-being of patients continues to be a top priority in addition to “expanding the ministry of healing Jesus Christ.”
“The jury’s decision evokes a number of emotions among our employees and especially among the people and families affected by Will Davis,” the spokesman said. “We pray for our community and all those involved, and hope that the jury’s verdict will help to some extent turn a blind eye to those who have been hurt.”
Mr. Davis remains in Smith County Jail on $ 8.75 million bail.
Jesus Jimenez made reporting.