Marion Bae, FISM News
The death penalty is being considered for a former nurse in Tyler, Texas after he was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of four patients: John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenaway and Joseph Kalina.
William George Davis was found guilty for the deaths of the four men which occurred during Davis’ five-year employment at Christus Mother Frances Hospital. He was portrayed by the prosecution as a diabolical serial killer who enjoyed watching his victims die.
Davis was convicted of injecting air into patients’ arteries while in recovery which led to complications and ultimately death for all four individuals. Complications for one of the victims, Joseph Kalina, began on Jan. 25, 2018, when he experienced a neurological event in the cardiovascular ICU while recovering from heart surgery. Davis was caught on video surveillance and identified as the last person to exit the patient’s room before the complications began. Scans revealed air in Kalina’s brain, believed to have been deliberately injected via syringe by Davis using the arterial line.
According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, the jury in Smith County needed just over an hour to find Davis guilty of capital murder on Tuesday afternoon, despite having endured 13 days of evidence and witness testimony. The jury made their decision without hearing testimony directly from the defendant as Davis refused to take the stand.
Due to suspected malpractice, Davis’ nursing license was suspended by the Texas Board of Nursing, following his termination from Christus Mother Frances Hospital in February 2018. He was arrested in April 2018 and placed in the Smith County Jail, prior to standing trial beginning Sept. 28. Davis had entered a not guilty plea to the murder charges.
Prosecutor Chris Gatewood’s case centered on the fact that Davis was the only nurse present when the complications began for all four victims. It was also noted during the trial that incidents involving brain damage caused by the presence of air stopped after Davis’ termination.
During closing arguments, the prosecution stressed the wicked nature of the crimes, saying, “He enjoyed going into the room and injecting people with air.”
The penalty has not yet been set for Davis as sentencing will take place after the jurors have heard additional testimony, which began on Wednesday morning. There are only two sentencing options for capital murder convictions in Texas: life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
The prosecution has made it clear that they are seeking the death penalty for Davis.