A nursing assistant in West Virginia was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences plus 20 years for killing seven elderly veterans and trying to kill an eighth.
Reta Mays, 46, was sentenced on Tuesday for the murders at Clarksburg Veterans Affairs hospital. The sentencing means she will spend the rest of her life behind bars as there’s no parole in the federal prison system.
US District Judge Thomas Kleeh said: “Several times your counsel has made the point that you shouldn’t be considered a monster. Respectfully, I disagree with that. You’re the worst kind of monster. You’re the kind of monster that no one sees coming.”
Most of the victims were men in their 80s who had served in the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Two of the father and grandfathers who were killed were in their 90s and had served in the Second World War. Seven of the victims had some form of dementia.
Assistant US Attorney Jarod Douglas said the victims were improving and were moving towards leaving the hospital when Mays injected them with insulin they didn’t need, WV News reported.
Mr Douglas added that death by insulin is agonizing, mentioning symptoms such as tremors, palpitations, anxiety, sweating, hunger, and seizures. The patients’ dementia made it impossible for them to call for help.
Judge Kleeh said all of the victims had almost “completed their journey” and deserved “commendation, respect and thanks” but instead, Mays had treated them “like garbage”.
“To a man, they were good and decent people, who served their country honourably. As has become abundantly clear to this court in not only the materials submitted but what we heard today, they were good and decent men loved not only by their families but their communities. And to who this country owes a very deep debt,” the Judge said.
He told Mays: “It wasn’t your call. It wasn’t your decision… You substituted your judgment for that of God, whatever higher power that you believe in. And you stole that time from these gentlemen that you were charged to care for.”
The judge added that there was “no explanation” and “no justification” for what Mays did. She pleaded guilty on 14 July 2020 to seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder. As a result, the government agreed not to push for the death penalty.
Amanda Edgell said her mother-in-law, the wife of victim Archie Edgell, “grieved herself to death,” dying a little over a year after her husband was killed by Mays.