The death penalty was handed down Wednesday, after three years of legal proceedings that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As it stands, Davis is slated to be executed by lethal injection, the only legal execution method for prisoners under Texas state law.
Prosecutors: William George Davis ‘Deserves’ Death Penalty
Jurors deliberated for just under two hours Wednesday before determining that Davis had “a probability of being a danger to society” and sentencing him to death.
He was previously convicted for the murder of four patients at Christus Hospital in Tyler, Texas — where Davis worked as a nurse — who died after having air injected into their bloodstreams in 2017 and 2018.
William George Davis reportedly did not react upon hearing the jury’s verdict, but cried after a victim’s wife said she forgave him during victim impact statements.
The sentence came after four days of additional testimony, during which Smith County prosecutors argued that Davis showed no remorse and “deserved” the death penalty because he “just stood by” as his colleagues at the hospital worked to determine his victims’ causes of death.
“The reason we don’t hurt strangers or even people that are close to us is because we have empathy,” county prosecutor Lance Long told jurors.
“What makes someone dangerous is when they don’t have empathy. Did [Davis] feel like God because he was the only one who knew what was going on in the hospital? All the while he sat back.”
District Attorney Jacob Putman told jurors in closing statements Wednesday that William George Davis had no particular motive for the killings.
“He doesn’t need a reason to [commit murder],” Putman said. “He does it because he likes it.”
In response, Davis’ lawyers argued that a life sentence was punishment enough for the convicted murderer.
“He’s not going to have access to health care to anyone else. [There’s] nothing to indicate he’s a danger to anyone else outside the cell,” said defense attorney Douglas Parks, adding that Davis would still be isolated from his family and miss “important milestones” of his childrens’ lives if spared the death penalty.
Possible Motive Revealed
During sentencing, prosecutors played the recording of a phone call William George Davis placed from prison to his ex-wife after jurors found him guilty last week. In it, Davis allegedly admitted to injecting his patients with air — but not because he wanted to kill them, he said.
Davis reportedly told his wife that his motive was to injure patients, prolonging their recovery period so that he could work more overtime hours and earn more money.
“My intentions were never to hurt anybody,” he told his ex-wife, according to the New York Post. “I wasn’t trying to kill anyone.”
Still, Davis’ alleged confession doesn’t explain his disturbing Internet searches, revealed by prosecutors during trial.
According to a U.S. Secret Service agent who analyzed Davis’ laptop, the ex-nurse read a “list of serial killers by number of victims” on Wikipedia and searched whether authorities were investigating a “possible serial killer” at his hospital about a month before his 2018 arrest.
Four Patients Died Mysteriously
Davis first became the subject of investigation after four patients in the intensive care unit at Christus Hospital — John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenaway and Joseph Kalina — all experienced unexpected complications while he was the only nurse on duty.
Tyler Police Department officials testified that Davis gave “deflective,” “indirect” and “contradictory” answers when questioned about the treatment of his final victim, Joseph Kalina.
He was later arrested after hospital surveillance footage showed him entering the rooms of each patient — even those to whom he was not assigned — shortly before their complications began.