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Former nurse found guilty of killing 4 patients in East Texas hospital

By Don Jacobson

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A former nurse faces the death penalty after a jury on Tuesday found him guilty of murdering four heart patients with air injections in an East Texas hospital.

William George Davis, 37, of Hallsville, Texas, was pronounced guilty of capital murder after a state court jury in Tyler, Texas, deliberated for about an hour, the Tyler Morning Telegraph and KSLA-TV reported.

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Prosecutors said Davis caused the deaths of four men in 2017 and 2018 by injecting air into their arterial systems while they were recovering from heart procedures at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital in Tyler.

The victims were identified as John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenaway and Joseph Kalina.

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Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Davis, who entered a not guilty plea at the start of his 11-day trial and declined to take the stand in his own defense.

Smith County Assistant District Attorney Chris Gatewood said Davis' motive was the pure enjoyment of committing murder.

"There is a motive here for Will Davis. It's simple," he said in his closing arguments. "He likes to kill people. He enjoyed going into the rooms and injecting them with air. If you watch the video on Kalina, [Davis] sat at the end of the hall and he watched those monitors and he waited. That's because he liked it."

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His attorney, Phillip Hayes, contended that the patients showed signs of strokes and their deaths could be attributable to health complications.

He argued that Davis had tried to administer first aid to at least two of the patients, but also acknowledged the he lied to hospital administrators as they were investigating the sudden patient downturns.

The case will now proceed to the punishment phase, in which the jury will hear more testimony before reaching a decision on whether to sentence Davis to life in prison or the death penalty.

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