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The trial for former East Texas nurse William George Davis is underway; Davis is accused of killing four patients recovering from heart surgery by injecting air into their arteries. Prosecutors say he is a serial killer, but his defense attorney said he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, according to the Washington Post.
Davis has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and aggravated assault charges.
As previously reported by Oxygen.com, Davis was arrested in April 2018 while employed as a registered nurse at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital Tyler. He allegedly injected air into at least seven patients from June 2017 to January 2018, investigators said according to the arrest affidavit.
Hospital staff met with police on February 8 in 2018. They were concerned about the incidents because it was a statistical “anomaly,” according to the affidavit. Doctors also told the investigators that the patients who died had all been stable following their surgeries.
Davis was fired one week after that meeting, and his nursing license was suspended in March, the Washington Post reported.
He was seen on surveillance video entering the rooms of some of the patients as their condition deteriorated, according to the affidavit. He was also working on the night each of those events occurred, investigators said.
“No one expects this is going to happen to them – certainly not in a hospital,” Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putnam told jurors during opening statements, according to AP. “We’re going to ask you to find him guilty of capital murder because that’s what he did.”
Putnam said that each of the four patients suffered stroke-like symptoms. CT scans revealed abnormal arterial spaces in their brains,” the AP reported.
“It turns out a hospital is the perfect place for a serial killer to hide,” Putnam told jurors, according to AP.
But his defense attorney said Davis, 37, is an innocent victim of circumstance. Phillip Hayes conceded to KYTX that the four patients all died under similar circumstances, but added that, “I don’t know if there’s any evidence to show that it was foul play."
The Tyler Police Department met with several medical professionals about the connection between the patients’ deaths and assaults. Each confirmed that they suffered from air embolisms in the brain,” the Washington Post reported.
“The problem with being in CVICU, which is cardiovascular ICU unit, is that they were very sick to get there. You don’t have heart surgery if you’re top notch healthy,” Hayes told jurors, according to KLTV. “These people had illnesses, these people had sickness, and these people had issues and you will find out that it’s not uncommon for people to have strokes and other problems after heart surgery.”
If convicted, Davis could be put to death or life in prison. The trial could last at least a month.
Davis has been in the Smith County Jail since his arrest in April of 2018 on a bond of $8.75 million.
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