Ex-nursing assistant pleads guilty to murder charges in connection to string of VA hospital deaths

A former nursing assistant once tasked with caring for America’s military veterans is now facing the possibility of life in prison.

Reta Mays, 45, pleaded guilty to seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with the intent to commit murder for crimes committed while she worked for the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in West Virginia, as reported by the Washington Examiner.

Her crimes

Prior to her plea on Tuesday, Mays was the subject of an investigation into a series of lethal insulin doses administered to eight patients between 2017 and 2018, the Examiner reported.

Based on her status as a nursing assistant, she reportedly did not have the authorization to inject patients with any drug.

The resolution of this case traces back to the efforts of several widows who filed wrongful death lawsuits against the hospital that alleged their husbands were given insulin shots without a doctor’s order.

This move sparked an investigation that eventually included federal resources when U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) asked for Attorney General William Barr’s assistance about two years ago.

Mays emerged as a suspect as the probe continued and she put an end to the matter by admitting what she had done, as The New York Times reported. She went through details of each crime in court as she reportedly wept and her voice cracked in response to the judge’s questions.

Her punishment

While the crimes are outlined clearly in court records, it is still unknown why Mays did what she did. Unless she chooses to open up, there is a chance her motive will remain a secret.

Manchin was clearly pleased with the latest development in the case and released a statement shortly after the guilty plea.

“While overdue, today justice is finally being served,” he said in a statement, according to the Examiner. “I hope today’s announcement brings some semblance of peace to their hearts and to the families who are still uncertain about the fate of their Veterans.”

U.S. Attorney Bill Powell issued a similar statement, asserting that while “we can’t bring these men back because of her evil acts, we hope the conclusion of the investigation and guilty plea helps ease the pain of the victims’ families.”

With a life sentence possible for any of the murder charges and a maximum of 20 years behind bars for the assault charge, Mays could easily spend the rest of her life in prison.

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