A former nursing assistant at a West Virginia hospital has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of injecting seven elderly veterans with fatal doses of insulin. The deaths occurred during overnight shifts at the hospital in 2017 and 2018.
Reta Mays, a former nursing assistant at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, 46, pleaded guilty in federal court to seven counts of second-degree murder for intentionally injecting male patients with unprescribed insulin. While she has a history of mental health issues and offered no explanation as to why she killed the men, the U.S. district judge Thomas Kleeh told her, “you knew what you were doing.”
After her guilty plea, a lengthy report was released by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. In the report, Mays said she administered the insulin to patients she believed were suffering so that they could pass “gently.” She also noted having immense stress and chaos in her personal and professional life, and that her actions gave her a sense of control.
Initially, Mays told investigators she knew nothing about the crime and denied any involvement. However, it was discovered that she conducted internet searches on female serial killers and watched the Netflix series “Nurses Who Kill.”
When hospital officials reported the deaths to the VA inspector general, evidence pointed to Mays, and she was terminated. According to prior U.S. Attorney Bill Powell, there were approximately 20 suspicious deaths at the medical centers while Mays worked there, but charges were only brought in instances where the government thought it had sufficient evidence.
Mays was charged with the second-degree murder of Army Veterans Robert Lee Kozul Sr., 89, Archie D. Edgell, 84, Felix Kirk McDermott, 82, and William Holloway, 96; Navy veteran Robert Edge Sr., 82; Air Force veteran George Nelson Shaw Sr., 81; and Army and Air Force veteran Raymond Golden, 88. She was also sentenced to an additional 20 years for assault with the intent to commit murder involving the death of Navy veterans Russell R. Posey., 92.
Prior to sentencing, Kleeh told Mays, “Several times your counsels made the point that you shouldn’t be considered a monster. Respectfully, I disagree with that. You are the worst kind. You’re the monster that no one sees coming.” In response, Mays addressed the court, saying, “I know that there’s no words that I can say that would alter the families’ pain and comfort. I don’t ask for forgiveness because I don’t think I could forgive anyone for doing what I did.”
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