William Davis: Prosecutors seek death for 'serial killer' nurse who killed 4 by injecting air
The jury found that in 2017 and 2018, William Davis injected air into the arteries of four patients during their heart surgeries
A serial killer nurse in Texas has been convicted of the serial killings of four patients by injecting them with air following heart surgeries. William Davis, 37, of Hallsville, was found guilty of the murders on Tuesday, October 19, and currently faces capital punishment.
The jury found that in 2017 and 2018, Davis injected air into the arteries of John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenway, and Joseph Kalina during their respective heart surgeries at the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital. The prosecutors branded Davis a serial killer after they revealed that he carried out the attacks purely because he enjoyed killing. As a result, they plan to seek death penalty against Davis when his sentencing begins on Wednesday. Some of the other nurses who made headlines include Maria Ambrocio, Sierra Samuels, and Renee Ayarde.
Davis' 'liked to kill people'
During the trial, Dallas-area pulmonologist and professor of internal medicine Dr William Yarbrough told the jury how injecting air into the arterial system of the brain causes brain injury and death. By viewing images from brain scans, Yarbrough said he was able to determine there was air in the arterial system of the victims. He added that it was something he said he had never before observed in the decades of his medical career. He also added that the victims did not die due to blood pressure problems or any other causes besides the injection of air. Since the complications occurred while the patients were in recovery, the air had to have been injected after the surgeries.
In the world of fiction, the method of killing through air injections has famously been conceived in Lord Peter Wimsey's 1928 murder mystery novel 'Unnatural Death,' and later in the 1985 TV series 'Shadow Chasers,' where a nurse used the method to kill seven patients. While the defense attorney Phillip Hayes told the jury that the hospital was trying to use Davis as a scapegoat who was only charged because he was present when the deaths occurred, prosecutor Chris Gatewood said during closing arguments that Davis "liked to kill people."
"He enjoyed going into the rooms and injecting them with air. If you watch the video on [Joseph] Kalina, he sat at the end of the hall and he watched those monitors and he waited. That’s because he liked it,” Gatewood said. Prosecutor Jacob Putman also countered the defense's argument by pointing out that the hospital hadn't changed any of its procedures and hadn't had any similar incidents since Davis left.
Davis was fired from the hospital before he was arrested for the murders
According to the Tyler Morning Telegram, the series of killings started in June 2017 when a 61-year-old man experienced "a profound and unexplainable incident resembling stroke-like symptoms" at Christus Mother Frances. A 58-year-old man suffered similar symptoms after less than a month in the same hospital.
Greenway was admitted to the hospital for a coronary artery bypass graft surgery on August 2, 2017. While he was recovering, Greenway was assigned a nurse who asked Davis to keep an eye on his patient while he took a lunch break. After returning from his break, the nurse heard the code being sounded for Greenway who began suffering from an unexplained neurological incident. The 47-year-old army veteran was declared brain dead and died on August 6.
As per the affidavit, Davis was seen entering Joseph Kalina's room on the morning of January 25, 2018, on security video and leaving a minute later. After three minutes, Kalina's heart rate plummeted while his blood pressure spiked. This left him with permanent brain damage that robbed him of the ability to speak or feed himself. He died last year.
in February 2018, Davis was fired from Christus Mother Frances and a couple of months later, arrested after police learned that he was the only employee who was present around each of the four patients who experienced stroke-like symptoms.