TYLER — Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for East Texas nurse William George Davis, 34, of Hallsville. Davis allegedly killed five patients and seriously injured others by inserting air into patients’ arterial lines, while he worked at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler.
The announcement was made in court Thursday morning. A trial by jury has been set for June, with Judge Christi Kennedy presiding.
All of the victims were recovering from surgery and responding as expected — before they unexpectedly took a turn for the worse. In each case, the victims were postoperative patients at the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital in Tyler.
The hospital fired Davis in February of 2018, after his supervisors noticed a series of deaths of patients recovering from heart surgery during his shifts at Louis and Peaches Heart Hospital. After a lengthy investigation, Davis was arrested in April 2018.
In June 2018, Davis was indicted for the first-degree murder of Christopher Greenaway, and the first-degree aggravated assaults of Pamela Henderson and Joseph Kalina. The indictment states Davis caused the death of Greenaway, 47, on Aug. 6, 2017, by introducing air into his arterial system. It also states Davis knowingly and recklessly caused serious bodily injury to Kalina on Jan. 25 and Henderson, 64, on Nov. 30, by introducing air into their arterial system — also with a syringe.
In July of 2018, Davis was indicted for three counts of aggravated assault for the injuries he caused to Gary Parker on, or about, July 14, 2017; James Wages on, or about, Aug. 7, 2017; and Rickie Glenn on, or about, Oct. 26, 2017.
Davis was again indicted in August of 2018 for the deaths of John Lafferty and Ronald Clark. Lafferty died on, or about, June 16, 2017. Clark died on, or about, July 26, 2017.
Police initially believed the late Perry Frank, 62 of Grapeland, was one of Davis' victims; there was, however, insufficient evidence to move forward with charges related to Frank's death.
Frank died unexpectedly after heart surgery on June 22 of last year. The popular teacher had directed Grapeland's high school band for more than a decade.
Davis remains in the Smith County jail on $2 million bond.
In July 2018, Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham III said all reported cases involving Davis remained under review.
The arrest affidavits report disturbances in patients' arterial line waveforms matched up with his presence in the hospital room.
The patients were in a cardiovascular intensive care unit during the night shift.
Investigators checking staff and payroll records found Davis was on duty, and in intensive care units, during the seven cases.
A pretrial hearing has been set for April 24.