Ex-Nurse Convicted of 6 Murders at Hospital
A former nurse was convicted of murder Sunday in the deaths of six patients at a western Indiana hospital.
Jurors hearing the case of Orville Lynn Majors told the judge they could not reach a verdict on the seventh count.
Majors, 38, could be sentenced to life in prison.
“How could they do this to him? He didn’t kill anyone,” said Majors’ sister, Debbie McClelland.
Majors had contended the patients died of the ailments that put them in the hospital, but prosecutors said the deaths were consistent with injections of potassium chloride, epinephrine or both. Police found containers of those drugs at Majors’ house and in his van.
The patients died in a 13-month span at Vermillion County Hospital in Clinton. Relatives of the seven testified they saw Majors near the patients just before they died, and witnesses said they saw him give injections to four of the patients.
Several doctors testified that their patients died from the illnesses that brought them to the hospital.
Prosecutors built their case around the fact that Majors was present, and often alone, when each patient died.
Jurors never saw statistical studies that linked Majors to as many as 130 deaths at the hospital. Special Judge Ernest Yelton, fearing the deluge of information would overwhelm the jury, didn’t allow prosecutors to use the studies.
The jury had heard evidence for five weeks, which included testimony from 79 witnesses. Twenty-three were doctors who offered them highly technical medical interpretations. The began deliberating Thursday morning, and met for a total of 33 hours.
Before reading the verdicts, the judge asked the packed courtroom not to overreact.
“I’m very mindful of the level of emotion connected to this litigation, but this is a court of law,” Yelton said.