TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Defense attorneys for the former CHRISTUS nurse accused of murdering multiple patients have filed a motion to suppress interviews that he had with police officers. They claim that he had already asked for an attorney and that any interrogation of him should have been stopped.
37-year-old William George Davis is charged in the deaths of patients while he was a nurse at CHRISTUS Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital.
According to the motion obtained by KETK News, Tyler police contacted Davis on Feb. 15, 2018, to set up an interview with him about a string of incidents at the hospital. The next day, Davis told detectives that he was being represented by Jason Cassel when they called him.
The motion states that investigators “disregarded Mr. Davis’ invocation of counsel and continued his interrogation and took a statement. This statement should be suppressed.”
In all, his lawyers asked 114th District Court Judge Austin Jackson to suppress three statements from being presented to a jury when the trial is held later this year.
The motion also contends on an interview he had on April 30 when police confirmed that Davis was no longer represented by Cassel. Officers read him his Miranda rights and took “a lengthy statement” after receiving clearance from then-Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham.
Justin Roberts, a partner at the East Texas Roberts & Roberts law firm, said this case delves into one of the most litigious and gray areas of the law.
I think there’s going to be a debate over two things… If this defendant didn’t have a lawyer anymore, could he really still invoke his right to counsel for a counsel he doesn’t have? And number two, they’re going to say that maybe [Davis] re-initiated contact.Justin Roberts, Partner of Roberts & Roberts Law Firm
The ruling will be the first major case in front of newly-elected Judge Jackson, who was elected last year to replace Christi Kennedy, who retired.
The case has sat largely inactive for the last two years due to a number of different delays. DNA testing, a change in a lawyer, and the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed the case down since Davis’ arrest nearly three years ago.
Davis was arrested back in August 2018 and had been fired back in February of that year. The official reason was for “falsification of care events and his unethical practice related to failure to disclose interventions provided.”
A later investigation by hospital staff and police revealed that it was likely a crime had occurred with the injury and death of several patients that were considered “statistical anomalies.”
Current Smith County DA Jacob Putman announced last year that he would be seeking the death penalty in the case. The trial is currently set for jury selection to begin in late July.
On March 16, 2018, the Texas Board of Nursing issued a Temporary Suspension Order against Davis, citing cases in which the board determined Davis was a “continuing and imminent threat to the public welfare.”
The arrest affidavit details the deaths and injuries of seven patients:
- 1) John Doe 1, 61 – injured June 22, 2017
- 2) John Doe 2, 58 – injured July 14, 2017
- 3) Christopher Greenaway, 47 – injured August 4, 2017, died August 8, 2017
- 4) John Doe 3, 54, – injured August 7, 2017
- 5) John Doe 4, 56 – injured October 26, 2017
- 6) Pamela Henderson, 63 – injured November 30, 2017
- 7) Joseph Kalina, 58 – injured January 25, 2018
All were identified as patients who underwent cardiovascular surgery and were recovering in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, “when they suddenly experienced a profound incident,” according to the affidavit.
The warrant also alleges that Davis intentionally introduced air into the patients’ arterial lines. The document claims that this action caused Greenway’s death, the death of another patient, and “permanent and debilitating” injuries to the others listed.
The affidavit says that security footage showed Davis entering the patients’ rooms and leaving. Almost immediately after, they would suffer a “profound incident” despite being considered stable after surgery.
After a one-week trial, he was sentenced to death after the jury deliberated for 45 minutes.
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