By Peter Laird, MD
The long awaited trial of Kimberly Saenz is now history with the jury rendering what I thought was a surprising verdict of guilty of capital murder in five cases and aggravated assault in three of five cases. I respect the voice of the people even though I personally disagree with the outcome. I truly do not believe that the medical evidence proves that any murders or assaults occurred, but the jury has spoken and I respect their efforts in this complex and taxing case.
LUFKIN, Texas (AP) - A former Texas nurse accused of killing five of her patients and injuring five others by injecting bleach into their kidney dialysis tubing was found guilty of capital murder Friday.
Kimberly Clark Saenz, 38, was fired in April 2008 after a rash of illnesses and deaths at a Lufkin dialysis clinic run by Denver-based health care giant DaVita Inc. She was charged a year later.
Her trial began March 5. Defense lawyers argued that Saenz was being targeted by the clinic's owner for faulty procedures at the facility, including improper water purification. They also suggested that officials at the clinic, about 125 miles northeast of Houston, fabricated evidence against Saenz. Prosecutors described claims Saenz was being set up by her employer as "absolutely ridiculous."
The mother of two now faces life in prison or a death sentence as the case moved to the punishment phase. Prosecutors had said they would seek the death penalty if Saenz was convicted.
Kimberly Saenz awaits the final aspect of this trial, that of sentencing where she could face the death penalty. In the end, God's judgement will be all that matters for each and every one of us. God offers forgiveness and salvation to one and all. My only prayer at this time is that the people of Lufkin Texas can be at peace with the terrible tragedy that has occurred in this small town for all involved. Certainly, there are many who have suffered terribly. It is also my hope that the verdict is true and certain since the potential penalties are harsh.
Hopefully after the penalty phase of the trial is completed, one or some of the jurors will explain how they viewed the evidence of this case that for them appears to have been without any reasonable doubt. It is their right to remain anonymous and silent, but I believe many will wish for a discussion by the jurors at some time in the future.
Once again, the jury has spoken and we must all abide and respect the great personal sacrifice that they took upon themselves to accomplish their duties as citizens of this great nation whether we agree or disagree with their verdict. May God be with us all in this and all matters as the jury now will decide her fate on life in prison or whether they will apply the death penalty to this case as the case now enters the punishment phase.