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A Texas nurse who has been found guilty of killing four heart surgery patients by air-injecting their arteries at a hospital in 2017 and 2018 could face the death penalty following his conviction this week.
William George Davis, 37, was found guilty of capital murder involving multiple victims at a Smith County courthouse after a jury deliberated for about an hour. The punishment phase of Davis’ trial opened on Wednesday and prosecutors are expected to seek capital punishment.
Davis is accused of killing patients John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenway and Joseph Kalina at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital after they underwent heart surgery by injecting air into their arteries, according to an indictment obtained by the Tyler Morning Telegraph. All four men had mysterious neurological complications and brain damage before they died.
Davis was first arrested by Tyler Police Department in April 2018. During his trial, prosecutors argued Davis willfully and purposefully murdered the four men.
“He killed these four patients,” Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman said, local television station KLTV reported. “He did it on purpose. He did it by injecting air into their arterial lines. There’s no other way.”
Chris Gatewood, a Smith County prosecutor who contended Davis took pleasure in killing his patients, described him as a “serial killer.”
“With the facts that we have, with the evidence that we have, a serial killer being in the hospital is the only thing that makes sense,” Gatewood said during his closing argument. “There is a motive here for Will Davis. It’s simple. He likes to kill people. He enjoyed going into the rooms and injecting them with air. If you watch the video on Kalina, he set at the end of the hall and he watched those monitors and he waited. That’s because he liked it,"
Davis’ defense attorney, however, denied he had any involvement in his patients’ deaths and insisted the former nurse was attempting to save their lives.
“Will liked to kill people?” defense lawyer Phillip Hayes rhetorically asked the court. “I don’t know if y’all remember this, or if Mr. Gatewood was here for the trial, but at least two of those individuals that passed away, Will was trying to administer life-saving drugs to or process to.”
Hayes conceded that his client knowingly misled hospital officials during the course of their investigation into the deaths. But he was adamant Davis wasn’t a murderer.
“If they want to charge him with being dishonest, okay, we’ll deal with that issue,” Hayes said. “But being dishonest does not make you a murderer.”
Davis was first hired at the hospital in 2013; his employment was terminated in 2018.
“The jury’s decision brings with it a range of emotions for our associates and — most especially — the people and families harmed by Will Davis,” Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com on Wednesday. “We pray for our community and all involved, and hope that the jury’s verdict helps bring some closure to those harmed.”
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