The murder charge filed against former Prince George's General Hospital nurse Jane Bolding in connection with a patient's death will be dropped over the weekend for lack of evidence, according to Prince George's State's Attorney Arthur A. Marshall.
At a preliminary hearing last month, a District Court judge ruled that police had probable cause to charge Bolding, 27, in the death of Elinor Dickerson, a patient in the hospital's intensive care unit. The judge gave police 30 days to investigate the case before Bolding, who allegedly gave Dickerson a lethal dose of potassium, could be prosecuted.
With the 30-day period ending this weekend, Marshall said he does not intend to present the case to a grand jury or place new charges against Bolding. "If we haven't done anything in 30 days, the charges are automatically dropped," Marshall said.
Bolding's attorney, Fred Joseph, said yesterday that if Marshall takes no formal action, he will file a motion in District Court on Monday to dismiss the case. Marshall said he did not think such a motion is necessary.
Dropping the charge at this point does not prevent prosecutors from charging Bolding later or presenting evidence against the nurse to a grand jury if they find new evidence. Marshall said yesterday that he is not pushing the case to trial because "the case against her is limited."
Although police say Bolding admitted killing Dickerson to relieve her suffering, police currently have no medical proof. Results of an autopsy done on Dickerson last month have not yet been released by state medical examiners, Marshall said.
The investigation into the deaths of 22 intensive care patients at Prince George's Hospital during a period when Bolding worked there is likely to be very lengthy and costly, Marshall said. He noted that a Riverside, Calif., prosecutor told him that it took two years of inquiry, six months of trial and more than $1 million to convict a nurse there of intentionally giving fatal doses of medication to several patients.
"We're hopeful of some help," Marshall said, adding that police and county officials are looking for funds to pay medical experts. Marshall said he has also written U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III seeking help from medical experts at Walter Reed Army Hospital.