A former nurse was convicted of murder today in the deaths of six patients at a western Indiana hospital.
Jurors hearing the case of Orville Lynn Majors told the judge they could not reach a verdict on the seventh count.
"How could they do this to him? He didn't kill anyone," Majors's sister, Debbie McClelland, said as she paced the courtroom.
Majors, 38, faces a maximum of 65 years in prison for each count, and under Indiana law he can be sentenced consecutively for each count, prosecutors said. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty and said they would not seek a life-without-parole sentence because they believe the maximum sentence Majors is facing would likely keep him in prison the rest of his natural life. Sentencing was set for Nov. 15.
He contended the patients died of the ailments that put them in the hospital, but prosecutors said the deaths were consistent with injections of potassium chloride, epinephrine or both. Police found containers of those drugs at Majors's house and in his van.
The patients died in a 13-month span at Vermillion County Hospital in Clinton. Relatives of the seven testified that they saw Majors near the patients just before they died, and witnesses said they saw him give injections to four of the patients.
The defense called as witnesses several patients' family doctors, who said their patients died from the illnesses that brought them to the hospital.
Prosecutors built their case around evidence that Majors was present, and often alone, when each patient died.
Jurors never saw statistical studies that linked Majors to as many as 130 of 147 deaths at the hospital. Special Judge Ernest Yelton, fearing the deluge of information would overwhelm the jury and bog down the trial, did not allow prosecutors to use the studies.