April 13, 2024


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Investigator: Convicted ex-nurse’s laptop showed search for serial killer information before his arrest | News

A United States Secret Service special agent testified Thursday that William George Davis, who was convicted of capital murder this week for killing four patients, viewed an online article titled, “List of serial killers by number of victims,” about a month before his arrest in 2018.

Davis, 37, of Hallsville, a former nurse at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, was found guilty Tuesday of injecting air into four patients’ arterial systems and causing their deaths. Those patients were John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenaway and Joseph Kalina.

The punishment phase of the trial began Wednesday with the prosecution’s assertion that Davis killed three more patients and tried to kill five others.

U.S. Secret Service Agent John Day said he analyzed a laptop with a username that was connected to Davis. The analysis showed the searches made on the computer and saved on the hard drive.

Day said the user either started searching “Mother Frances hospital” or fully searched “Mother Frances hospital investigating possible serial killer” on March 16, 2018.

Someone on the same laptop viewed the Wikipedia article with a list of serial killers that same day and looked at an article about serial killers on a cable news website, Day said.

Davis was booked into the Smith County Jail and has remained there since April 2018 on bonds totaling $8.75 million.

The defense noted the laptop data showed the date a user last logged in as 2016; however, Day said that data doesn’t always get updated.

Dr. William Yarbrough, a pulmonologist and professor of internal medicine in the Dallas area, testified the 12 patients Davis is accused of killing or harming, including the four he was convicted of killing, were either affected by the injection of air into the arterial system or venous system or in one patient’s case an injection of insulin.

The prosecution noted Davis was the only nurse on duty for all 12 patients when incidents either leading to significant damage or death occurred. In his opinion, all of these injections were intentional.

In addition to the four who died from air in the arterial system, Gary Parker, Pamela Henderson, Rickie Glenn, James Wages and Jesus Serrano were injured because of air in their arterial system, Yarbrough testified.

Those injected with air in their venous system include Perry Frank and James Blanks, who both died soon after the injection of air, Yarbrough testified. He also said recovering patient James Sanders had complications and died after an intentional insulin injection.

Yarbrough discussed each of the patients who died or were injured. He said Wages had heart surgery and later a neurological event in August 2017, and records show an intentional injection of air into the arterial system of the brain.

Glenn’s records also showed an intentional injection of air into the arterial system of his brain while he recovered from surgery in October 2017. Parker’s damages and a neurological event, while he recovered, showed the injection of air into his arterial system, Yarbrough testified.

For Frank and Blanks, Yarbrough said the air was injected into the venous system rather than the arterial system. The venous system brings blood back to the heart, while the arterial system sends blood away from the heart.

Yarbrough explained Sanders’ blood glucose level plummeted dramatically, and his complications and eventual death had to be caused by the intentional injection of insulin into the patient.

Amy Landrum, a granddaughter of Sanders, testified he was recovering well after surgery around June 16, 2017, but she then got a phone call around 1 a.m. from the hospital saying he had severe low blood sugar and stopped breathing.

Landrum said physicians were able to stabilize Sanders. When they started taking him off sedation medication, he never regained consciousness.

Surgeons and doctors said there was no rhyme or reason for him to be in the state he was in, Landrum testified. She added he was soon removed from life support.

Wendy Stone, a former Christus nurse, said when she responded to help Sanders during his complications, Davis was in the room and Sanders’ blood glucose level was low.

She said she came to the room because Davis was yelling out that Sanders was having problems. Stone testified when a person’s blood sugar is significantly low, organs begin to fail.

Stone testified there was no earlier indication that Sanders would have a dramatic drop in blood glucose.

Wyley McCoy, former pharmacy director for Christus Trinity Mother Frances, testified how Teresa Meeks, clinical director at the Christus TMF cardiovascular ICU, asked him to check the IV pumps after Sanders’ complications.

McCoy said he noticed no malfunction of the IV pump for Sanders, and a significant drop in blood glucose can harm the brain and other organs.

He testified for such a blood-sugar drop that Sanders experienced, the IV pump would either need to be specially programmed or insulin would need to be injected using a syringe.

Testimony is set to resume Friday morning.

Following a former nurse’s capital murder conviction Tuesday in the deaths of four patients, Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman said Wednesday the prosecution will prove William George Davis killed three other patients and attempted to murder five more.

The punishment phase of the trial began Wednesday.

Putman told the jury Davis committed seven murders, including the four he was convicted of, and tried to kill five other patients. He told jurors they would hear from nurses, doctors, victims and families.

Krystal Frank, the widow of Perry Frank, one of three other patients who Putman said Davis killed, said her husband had heart surgery in 2017. He was recovering well until she got a 3 a.m. phone call from the hospital.

She testified that hospital staff tried to save her husband for an hour but couldn’t revive him.

“I was praying all the way, but I knew he was gone already,” she said.

The staff also asked her if she wanted to consent to an autopsy because they didn’t know what happened, to which she agreed. Perry Frank was an East Texas school band director, she testified.

Teresa Meeks, clinical director at cardiovascular ICU, returned to testify about unexplained outcomes around 2017 and 2018 for other patients than those discussed during the initial phase of the trial.

During her testimony, she addressed three patients who were injured: Gary Parker, James Wages and Rickie Glenn. Davis was charged with aggravated assault in connection with those injuries.

Meeks also testified about Perry Frank, James Sanders and James Blanks, cardiovascular ICU patients who died in 2017 while recovering from surgery.

Davis was the only nurse on duty during several of the patients’ complications, Meeks said.

She testified she found out about Sanders’ complications that led to his death on June 15, 2017.

She said there was nothing to indicate a possible problem.

Meeks recalled Sanders’ assigned nurse had to leave for some time, and later on, Davis was a substitute.

She noted records showed Sanders’ blood sugar level became low within a short period of time, and he died soon after. Meeks called Sanders’ death shocking.

Regarding Perry Frank’s complications and death, Meeks said she saw nothing during his recovery indicating likely complications.

After viewing security footage, Meeks noticed Davis was the last person to come out of Perry Frank’s room. That made her think back to seeing Davis coming out of Kalina’s room just before his brain-damaging complications in 2018.

Meeks testified the unexplained outcomes were starting to become far too common for the cardiovascular ICU to function. She said the events stopped after Davis was suspended from the hospital in 2018.

Kay Blanks, widow of James Blanks, testified her husband came to Mother Frances for heart surgery in January 2017, and he was recovering well.

“I was amazed. He was not on any kind of machine,” she said.

She recalled talking to him briefly and going home.

As he recovered, she laid down at night at home and noticed four calls from the hospital. When she called back, a nurse told her he died.

“I was shocked out of my mind,” Kay Blanks said. “I think I screamed, ‘What happened?’ He had been dead for 30 minutes, and I was just overwhelmed. It was awful.”

The doctor said the staff didn’t know what happened, and she agreed to an autopsy.

Kaitlyn McKenna, a former night shift nurse at Christus cardiovascular ICU, testified that before complications, James Blanks was recovering well post-surgery as he was talking and attempting to walk.

Also on Wednesday, a woman testified that when she was in middle school and Davis was a freshman in college, he coerced her into touching him inappropriately and tried to make her have sex.

The prosecution showed letters, which were of graphic nature, that Davis wrote at the time to the middle school-aged girl. She recalled interviewing with the police but didn’t tell the whole story until recently because she was afraid of getting in trouble.

She said she remembered being uncomfortable and super nervous when Davis would make her touch him, and she pushed off his advances.

She testified that she began getting phone calls from the Smith County Jail this year and determined it was Davis because of a voicemail. She blocked the jail phone number and later changed her number.

Smith County Jail Lt. Elsa Green testified an inmate with Davis’ ID number called the woman’s phone number several times while he was jailed this year. None of the 23 calls over a four-month period were answered.

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