Reta Mays, a former nursing assistant at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia, plead guilty on Tuesday to the murders of 7 veterans, according to the DOJ. She also plead guilty to assault with intent to commit murder on another. She gave no reason for her actions, but faces 7 life sentences and 20 years for the assault, plus $250,000 fines for each case. Prosecutors are asking for the maximum sentence.
Between 2017 and 2018, Mays injected veterans with lethal doses of insulin – something she was neither qualified nor had authorization to do. Her actions caused hypoglycemic episodes that resulted in death. There were 11 suspicious deaths at the VA center during the time she was employed there from 2015-2018. The investigation has been ongoing for two years, since June of 2018. It will continue, as authorities search for more evidence.
Several wrongful death lawsuits were filed regarding the deaths. Heavy.com reported,
“Melanie Proctor, the daughter of retired Army Sergeant Felix McDermott, filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs on March 2, alleging her late father suffered a hypoglycemic attack early on the morning of April 9, 2018, and died, although his cause of death was recorded as aspiration pneumonia with sepsis.
Proctor alleged a “widespread system of failures” at the medical center, with leadership not doing anything about the “abnormally high number of patients experiencing sudden unexpected declines” on the floor where Mays worked. The rate of hypoglycemic episodes was unheard of in the hospital industry, according to her complaint.”
The DOJ is investigating suspicious deaths at a VA medical center where at least ten veterans may have died from wrongly administered insulin injections.
@NatalieABrand spoke to the daughters of a veteran whose death has been ruled a homicide https://t.co/QjQNBFSVzl pic.twitter.com/Wv4A6cKIXL
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 30, 2019
Mays appeared in court on Tuesday, and plead guilty.
Judge Tom Kleeh asks Mays to stand to formally plead guilty. Mays is crying. Judge read each victim's name. Mays pleads guilty to all counts and says "yes, sir" when asked if she did was the govt. said she did.
— Leslie Rubin (@LeslieRubinWCHS) July 14, 2020
Court documents name six of the veterans Mays is accused of killing: Robert Edge Sr., Robert Kozul, Archie Edgell, George Shaw, Felix McDermott and Raymond Golden. The seventh veteran she is accused of killing is identified by initials, W.A.H. The veteran she is accused of assaulting also was identified only by initials, R.R.P. Prosecutors said that veteran died two weeks after Mays injected him with insulin.
During a news conference, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell of the Northern District talked about the guilty plea that came after several years of intensive work by investigators. He said he hoped it will bring some comfort to the families of the victims.
“Nothing we have done will bring your loved ones back,” Powell said. “But we do hope that the work of these agents and the prosecutors honored the memories of your loved ones and in some small way assuage some of the anguish you have suffered.”
Powell said that Mays worked as a nursing assistant at the medical center from 2015 to 2018 and was responsible for the testing of the vitals of patients, monitoring their glucose levels and sitting with patients. A news release said she worked night shift and she admitted intentionally administering insulin with the intent to cause the patients’ deaths.
Mays was remanded to the custody of US Marshals and will spend the next months at the Northern Regional Jail. Her next hearing is October 30. A presentence investigation has begun.
“These eight Veterans deserved respect and honor. They served our country and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. They didn’t deserve to die at the hands of a nursing assistant who intentionally inflicted pain on them and their families.” Michael Christman, FBI S.A.C.
Featured photo: Reta Mays