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Jury finds former Tyler nurse guilty of capital murder

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:30 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 2:55 PM CDT

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A jury found William Davis, the former East Texas nurse, guilty of murdering patients during his time working at a Tyler heart hospital.

It took the jury about an hour to find Davis guilty of capital murder.

Before deliberations, the jury heard closing arguments from both sides, but ultimately decided that William Davis knowingly and intentionally killed patients

“With the facts that we have, with the evidence that we have, a serial killer being in the hospital is the only thing that makes sense,” said prosecutor Chris Gatewood.

The prosecution once again told the stories of the victims, all who were said to be recovering well from heart surgery between June 2017 and January 2018, before unexpectedly crashing.

“His daughter, Mr. Serrano’s daughter told you she Facetimed with her father before he tried to kill him.He’s fine! Until he enters the room and does his dirty work,” Gatewood said.

The prosecution emphasized to the jury that Davis intentionally killed his victims by injecting air in their arterial lines.

“There is a motive here for Will Davis. It’s simple. He likes to kill people. He enjoyed going into the rooms and injecting them with air. If you watch the video on Kalina, he set at the end of the hall and he watched those monitors and he waited. That’s because he liked it,” Gatewood said.

When the defense got their turn, they pushed back on the notion that Davis was a killer.

“Will liked to kill people? I don’t know if y’all remember this or if Mr. Gatewood was here for the trial, but at least two of those individuals that passed away Will was trying to administer life-saving drugs to or process to,” said lead defense attorney Phillip Hayes.

Hayes acknowledged Davis lied to hospital leaders while they were investigating the patient downturns.

“And if they want to charge him with being dishonest, okay, we’ll deal with that issue. But being dishonest does not make you a murderer. Does not make you a killer or a serial killer,” Hayes said.

Hayes also brought up Davis’ family, saying he was just getting started and had no reason to kill.

“Wife, two kids, what would be the motive? Because none of these things add up. Are you trying to kill people or are you trying to save people because here we’re doing both,” Hayes said.

Before it went to the jury, the prosecution got one more chance to make their case.

“He killed these four patients. He did it on purpose. He did it by injecting air into their arterial lines. There’s no other way,” said Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman.

The jury will now hear more testimony in the punishment phase of the trial. They will have to decide whether to give Davis life in prison or the death penalty.

1:23 p.m. - The jury has found William Davis guilty of capital murder. The punishment phase of the trial starts Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

1:19 p.m. - Judge Austin Reeve Jackson has announced the jury has reached a verdict.

11:58 a.m. - Putman says police thoroughly investigated before arresting Davis, they didn’t just arrest him based on hospital suspicion.

Putman says Pamela Henderson and Jesus Serrano are still alive because less air was injected into their line.

“He was trying to kill people and didn’t want to get caught” Putman said on Davis.

Putman says any notion that Davis was the scapegoat for the patient downturns is incorrect. Putman says Davis was well liked among staff and they had no reason to accuse him of murder.

Putman acknowledges there’s no evidence that Davis entered Chris Greenaway’s room the morning he crashed.

But in Kalina’s case, the video clearly shows Davis enter and then leave the room.

Putman says the hospital hasn’t changed any procedures and no similar incidents have happened since Davis was suspended.

Putman says there’s no massive conspiracy, he says it would be easier to say these were just medical accident, which he says they were not.

Putman once again asks the jury to find Davis guilty of capital murder

“He killed these four patients. He did it on purpose,” Putman said.

The prosecution rebuttal has ended. Jury deliberations are now underway.

11:13 a.m. - Hayes says Joseph Kalina also had co-morbidities. He claims there was no evidence of air in his brain.

Hayes reminds the jury if Davis is found guilty, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hayes discusses the flow of air in the body, disagreeing with the state’s claim that it goes straight to the brain.

Hayes says he think the hospital had “issues” and Davis became a scapegoat for the patient crashes.

“Find Will Davis not guilty of capital murder,” Hayes says.

The defense has now ended their closing arguments. DA Putman is now beginning his rebuttal.

10:25 a.m. - “It takes some nerve to say I’m being deceptive,” Hayes said on Gatewood’s closing argument statement that Hayes was misleading the jury.

Hayes shrugs off Gatewood’s statement that Davis liked to kill people. Hayes says Davis administered life saving measures in at least two of the victims.

Hayes says Teresa Meeks misled the jury during her testimony in regards to Chris Greenaway’s arterial line.

Hayes says there’s no evidence of air being injected into Greenaway’s arterial line.

Hayes says Greenaway had a number of co-morbidities.

10:03 a.m. - On a motive, Gatewood says Davis “liked to kill people.”

The defense began closing arguments. Phillip Hayes, lead defense attorney is making closing arguments for the defense.

10 a.m. - Gatewood says in the case of Joseph Kalina, he was also fine. The day nurse testified that his recovery was routine and he was neurologically intact.

Gatewood says when Davis enters the room that morning, he injected air into Kalina’s arterial line. Gatewood says Davis lied about responding to Kalina’s sounding alarm. He adds that data from the pumps showed that the alarm wasn’t yet going off when Davis entered the room.

They played security camera video showing the morning Joseph Kalina crashed. Video shows Davis enter Kalina’s room and leave about a minute later.

Gatewood says in the case of Ronald Clark, nurses testified that he was also fine. His charts showed heavy similarities to other victims.

“He is guilty of capital murder,” Gatewood says.

Gatewood says witnesses called by the defense “deceived” the jury, says they misled and deflected from the facts.

“He’s trying to mislead you or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Gatewood said on Dr. Schnell.

9:39 a.m. - Prosecutor Chris Gatewood begins the state’s closing arguments.

Gatewood says the jury must find Davis guilty of killing Greenaway, the jury does not have to find him guilty of killing the other alleged victims. They need to be unanimous on Greenaway, do not need to be unanimous for other victims.

Gatewood discussed the difference between murder and capital murder.

Gatewood brings up Chris Greenaway, saying he was doing well after surgery. His nurse Ben Rasberry went to lunch to return to find his patient had crashed.

Closing arguments have begun in the trial of William Davis.

Davis, a former East Texas nurse, is accused of killing patients during his time working at a Tyler heart hospital.

Judge Jackson informed the jury of their duties. The verdict must be unanimous.

The prosecution must prove that Davis intentionally or knowingly killed Chris Greenaway, Ronald Clark, John Lafferty, and Joseph Kalina beyond a reasonable doubt.

The jury could find Davis not guilty of capital murder, but could find him guilty of a lesser charge like Murder.

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