In a phone call to his ex-wife from the Smith County Jail, William George Davis, a former East Texas nurse convicted of killing four patients, said because money was tight he would find ways to prolong ICU patients’ stays at the Tyler hospital where he worked.
This call was made on Tuesday evening — the day he was found guilty of capital murder.
He explained to her on the phone he would hurt patients so they would be sicker. He said he did this to work more hours and make more money.
“My intentions were never to hurt anybody. I wasn’t trying to kill anyone,” Davis said over the phone.
Davis, 37, of Hallsville, who worked at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, was convicted Tuesday of injecting air into the arterial systems and causing the deaths of John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenaway and Joseph Kalina.
The sentencing phase of the trial began Wednesday. The jury will choose between life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
The prosecution Friday presented recordings of several phone calls between Davis and his ex-wife. Throughout the calls, his ex-wife showed several moments of emotion and distress, while Davis briefly cried.
She asked Davis if any evidence and testimony the prosecution presented was true. She wanted to know what happened to have some form of closure.
Early in the conversation, Davis told her not all of what was presented in court is true.
“I’m not a serial monster if that’s what you’re wondering. I’m not perfect,” Davis said.
He told her at the time finances were challenging and that he felt pressure to work many days a week.
Tyler police Detective Jeff Roberts, who interviewed Davis during the police investigation in 2018, was on the witness stand as the recorded calls were played. After hearing about prolonging patients’ stays and tight finances, Roberts said none of what Davis said made sense.
After the comments about finances, Davis’ ex-wife said she told him if they couldn’t afford the house they bought, they shouldn’t have gotten it.
He also told her what happened to Kalina was an accident. When asked about the other deaths, he said those were also accidents.
“You’re a nurse,” she said. “You’re supposed to help people, not prolong their stay just for your (expletive) benefit.”
Davis then said he’s had a long time to think about what he did.
“I’ve repented to God for this,” Davis said on the call.
To which his ex-wife said, “Your whole mindset is evil. This is not what God would want you to do.”
He later said he screwed up because he was stupid.
His ex-wife noted on the call he almost had a job as a nurse practitioner and that would have helped them financially.
She asked him to take the stand and apologize to the families of the victims.
“The victims’ families — they deserve more sympathy. You need to give these families an apology,” she said.
Davis seemed to hysterically cry on one of the calls and quickly transitioned into speaking normally.
“I know it was (wrong). I’ve asked God for forgiveness,” he said.
She then asked him to write a letter to their kids to give them when they’re older.
“You put that burden on all of us,” she said. “You’re going to be the one who has to answer for this on Judgment Day.”
When she asked him if he when he felt a sense of guilt, Davis said, as a nurse, he’d gotten used to tragic events and became detached from his patients.
“I was more worried about work,” he said.
Davis told her not all of the patients mentioned in the first phase of the trial were victims of his actions. He said he didn’t do anything intentionally to hurt Kalina.
He felt like his actions were sudden impulses, Davis said on the phone. He added he never had any thoughts about those actions until about 2017.
Davis did mention a 96-year-old woman, who was in the Neurological ICU in 2016, as the first time his actions caused a death.
He said he doesn’t know why his thought process went toward prolonging patient stays to get paid more.
The prosecution also presented a phone call Davis made to his brother. During the call, Davis said he’d rather get life in prison and “die on God’s timing.” The statement was followed by a chuckle.
During sentencing, the prosecution claimed Davis killed three other people and tried to kill five more in addition to the four patients he was convicted of killing.
Testimony is set to resume Tuesday morning, and sentencing deliberations could begin Wednesday.