Ex-Nurse Convicted in 6 Ind. Deaths

Thomas Cagle (nh-adapt@juno.com)
Mon, 18 Oct 1999 20:02:43 -0400


From: "Bunny McLeod" <gmcleod@conknet.com>

>Ex-Nurse Convicted in 6 Ind. Deaths
>
>By JOHN KELLY
>.c The Associated Press
>
>
>BRAZIL, Ind. (AP) - It has always been clear to Paula Holdaway:
>Her 80-year-old mother was killed by a deliberate overdose of
>powerful chemicals.
>
>``There was never a doubt in my mind,'' Holdaway said Sunday
>after a jury found former nurse Orville Lynn Majors guilty of
>administering lethal injections to her mother, Dorothea Hixon,
>and five other elderly patients.
>
>Majors, 38, faces a maximum of 65 years in prison on each of
>the six murder counts. The judge set sentencing for Nov. 15.
>
>Relatives of the victims hugged and cried when the verdict
>was read.
>
>``I hope he gets his life right with the Lord,'' said Tanya Cottrell,
>who testified she saw Majors inject her father, Freddie Wilson,
>just before he died.
>
>Prosecutors said Majors, 38, injected Wilson and six other
>patients with epinephrine and potassium chloride while he was
>a licensed practical nurse at Vermillion County Hospital.
>
>Jurors could not reach a verdict on a seventh patient. But
>Rodney Smith was satisfied his father got justice, even though
>the panel couldn't agree whether Majors killed 74-year-old Cecil
>Smith, who died in April 1994, after being admitted with
>pneumonia.
>
>Prosecutor Nina Alexander said: ``That's probably the most
>satisfying part of this - that these family members were pleased
>and maybe they can finally get some closure.''
>
>Amid the celebration, Majors' elderly parents, Orvil and Anna Bell,
>remained in their front-row courtroom seats with shocked
>expressions on their faces.
>
>``How could they do this to him? He didn't kill anyone,'' Majors'
>sister, Debbie McClelland said as she rested her head on the
>shoulder of an Indiana State Police officer.
>
>Defense attorneys said they plan to appeal the verdict.
>
>``Lynn is very upset. It's very human to feel some sense of closure,
>or peace even, at the worst possible news,'' said defense attorney
>Carolyn Rader.
>
>The patients died in a 13-month span between 1993 and 1995 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.
>
>Majors had contended the patients died of the ailments that put
>them in the hospital. 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.
>
>Jurors never saw statistical studies that linked Majors to as
>many as 130 of 147 deaths at the hospital. Special Judge Ernest
>Yelton, fearing the deluge of information would overwhelm the jury
>and bog down the trial, 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. They
>began deliberating Thursday morning, and met for a total of
>33 hours.
>
>The case began more than four years ago when a nursing
>supervisor became suspicious of the rising death rate in the
>hospital's intensive care unit, where Majors worked most days.
>
>AP-NY-10-18-99 0423EDT
>

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