Healthcare News & Insights

Nurse gets life in prison for bleach-injection deaths

A Texas nurse was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of killing five of her patients with bleach injections.

Kimberly Saenz, a former nurse at a dialysis clinic in Lufkin, Texas, was convicted on five capital murder charges. She was also sentenced to three 20-year terms for aggravated assault related to other patients who were injured in similar attacks.

Saenz’s attorney had argued during the trial that the deaths were the result of chronic problems with improper cleaning of equipment at the clinic, and that Saenz was being used as a scapegoat.

Jurors deliberated for 45 minutes before agreeing on a sentence. Saenz’s lawyer claimed that the jurors opted for a life sentence instead of the death penalty at least in part because prosecutors failed to show that she was at any risk of committing future violence. He pointed to the fact that she had “behaved” in the past four years since the deaths as evidence that she was not a threat.

Prosecutors had said earlier that they would seek the death penalty, but didn’t specifically call for it during the sentencing phase. However the prosecution did make a point of reminding jurors that she had a history of stealing drugs from previous employers and had faked the results of some of her employment drug tests.

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