A jury convicted a Texas nurse on Tuesday of capital murder. The conviction is related to the deaths of men, who died after prosecutors said the nurse injected them with air following their heart surgeries.
The jury deliberated for about an hour until they found the nurse, William George Davis, guilty of capital murder. Prosecutors planned to seek the death penalty for their sentencing, and the sentencing phase will begin this Wednesday.
Tyler Morning Telegraph reported that the jury had three options for a verdict: not guilty, guilty of capital murder, or guilty of the lesser charge of murder. Davis entered a not guilty plea on Sept. 28, and the trial began from there.
Murders Date Back To 2017, 2018
Davis, 37, allegedly committed the murders in 2017 and 2018 to patients who underwent heart surgeries at the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler. The victims are Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenway, Joseph Kalina, and John Lafferty. Associated Press reported that all victims suffered unexplained neurological problems then died.
During the trial, Dr. William Yarbrough, a pulmonologist and professor of internal medicine in Dallas, told the jury that injecting air into the brain’s arterial system causes brain injury and death. Yarborough said he determined air in the arterial system of the victims’ brains because he viewed the images from the brain scans. Yarbrough went on to rule out blood pressure problems and other causes aside from air injection. He also later concluded that the air injection must have taken place after the surgeries because all victims suffered complications while in recovery.
Defense Claims Davis Was A Scapegoat
The defense attorney of Davis, Phillip Hayes, told the jury during the trial that the hospital had issues and Davis was their scapegoat. Hayes added Davis was only charged because he was there when the deaths occurred. Hayes added that the patients showed a pattern of watershed strokes and that their prior health issues could have led to their complications and deaths.
Prosecutor Christ Gatewood said, on the other hand, that Davis liked to kill people that is why he did what he did. Prosecutor Jacob Putman added that the hospital did not change its procedures and had no similar incidents since Davis left.
Security footage also showed that Davis was the last person to enter Kalina’s room. He claimed he went to silence an IV pump, but records showed an alarm did not go off.