Survivors of former CHRISTUS nurse convicted of murder will testify on Friday

Crime

Summary

The second day of the sentencing phase for William Davis featured more emotional testimony from victims’ families and hospital staff that was not featured at trial.

Amy Landrum was the granddaughter of James Sanders, one of the new victims presented since the conviction, and said that he was more like her “full father figure.”

She described him as one of “the most caring people. You know like he always cared about other people versus himself. Like he would put others first he would help others long before he would help himself. Even doing jobs around his house.”

Dr. James Caccitolo, the Chief Cardiovascular Surgeon at CHRISTUS, testified about the strain between the OR staff and the ICU staff when they began to have multiple patients suffer unexpected medical events.

He said there “was a lot of turmoil and concern as to why these things were happening and who was to blame for it.

“It created a lot of angst and untrustwworthingess. Obviously, as a surgeon, you do the surgery. Everything goes well. You turn over the care of the patient to the nurse and now something bad happens. What is going on? You know I did my role.

Dr. James Caccitolo, Chief Cardiovascular Surgeon at CHRISTUS

Also revealed at the trial were new causes of death for the victims that were not presented at trial. James Blanks is believed to have died from an intentional injection of air into the venous system (veins) instead of the arterial system (arteries).

Meanwhile, Sanders’ death was believed to have been the result of a significant insulin injection that caused his glucose levels to plummet. He died just over an hour after his health suddenly deteriorated on June 16, 2017.

It is still unclear why these deaths were not presented at trial.

12:00 p.m.

DA Jacob Putman did announce before lunch that victims of William Davis who survived will testify Friday morning.

It is unclear exactly who will testify. Survivors of William Davis include:

  • Gary Parker
  • James Wages
  • Jesus Serano
  • Pamela Henderson
  • Ricky Glenn

11:30 a.m.

Questioning is done with Yarbrough. After discussion with lawyers, Judge Jackson says they are “moving significantly faster” than anticipated. He hints that it may not take as much time as originally thought.

They are in lunch break until 1 p.m.

11:24 a.m.

Defense questioning about a difference of opinion between the physician who performed an autopsy on one of the new victims and Yarbough’s on the cause of death.

They were discussing James Blanks, who Yarbrough believes died of an injection of air into the venous system. Autopsy had said COD was pulmonary embolism. But Yarbrough said there were not the large clots in the legs that should be visible in the autopsy.

11:15 a.m.

Yarbrough ends his prosecution questioning by talking about the cause of deaths for multiple victims. Now being questioned by the defense.

11:00 a.m.

Yarbrough has resumed his testimony by talking about the death of James Sanders. He reviewed his medical records and believed he died from an intentional injection of insulin.

10:40 a.m.

Judge Jackson calls for a 15-minute break during Yarbrough’s testimony.

10:30 a.m.

Judge Jackson blocks ADA Chris Gatewood from asking Yarbrough what it would feel like to die from an injection of air into the veins.
The defense objected due to lack of relevancy.

10:27 a.m.

Yarbrough says that it would require “a very large amount of air” to be injected into the Venous system to cause death.

10:12 a.m.

Yarbrough says Perry Frank’s damage was different than others. He said air was injected into his venus system (a vein) rather than an artery.

9:50 a.m.

McCoy says that from Sanders’ glucose levels to drop from 148 to 23 in less than two hours, it would require a large increase of insulin being given to him.
That would likely require the use of a syringe, he said. That’s it for his testimony No Qs from the defense.

The next witness is Dr. William Yarbrough, who testified earlier in the trial as well. He reviewed brain scans of James Wages and believed that air had been injected into the arterial lines.

Wages was not one of the original victims in the indictment for the first part of the trial.

9:35 a.m.

Stone testified about trying to save Sanders’ life after a Code Blue was initiated. Will Davis was there to help. No questions from the defense.

The next witness is Wylie McCoy, the former Director of Pharmacy for CHRISTUS. He had already testified during the guilt/innocence phase.

9:22 a.m.

The next witness is Amy Stone. She testified on Day 1 of the trial. Stone was a charge nurse on the night shift.

9:12 a.m.

The next witness is Amy Landrum, the granddaughter of James Sanders. Says he was a more full-time father figure for her when she was a teen.

9:06 a.m.

Caccitolo testifies that there was “deep angst and untrustworthiness” between medical staff at CHRISTUS when patients kept having unexpected events after successful surgeries.

Caccitolo ends his testimony by saying that he personally operated on Will Davis’ father for lung cancer before these events happened. The operation was a success. No questions from the defense.

9:00 a.m.

Caccitolo is now testifying about Rickie Glenn, who was referred to him for bypass surgery. He said the surgery was uncomplicated. He also ended up suffering a stroke after what appeared to be a successful surgery.

8:54 a.m.

Caccitolo now testifying about James Wages’ operation, another one of the new victims. He was known for being an Elvis impersonator.

8:45 a.m.

Dr. Caccitolo testifies that he operated on Perry Frank, one of the new victims the jury learned about on Wednesday.

He estimated that the chance of Frank dying from his surgery was only 0.35%.

8:37 a.m.

Judge Jackson has brought in the jury for the second day of sentencing. The first witness called is Dr. Caccitolo, a Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgeon. He performed operations on many of the victims.

Original Story

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – In his opening statement on Wednesday for the sentencing phase of William Davis, Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman promised the jury he would reveal to them six additional victims of the convicted nurse that were not brought up at trial.

He did not say why these additional victims did not come up during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial, but said the evidence would show that Davis had always been a threat and would continue to be one in prison.

Davis, a former CHRISTUS cardiovascular ICU recovery nurse in Tyler, was convicted of capital murder on Tuesday after the jury deliberated for less than one hour. Now, they must decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison without parole.

Putman opened the sentencing phase with testimony from a woman who knew Davis when she was just 13 years old and he was 18.

She testified that he asked her on several occasions to perform sexual acts on him and constantly pressured her to date him. The woman testified that at the time she thought he “was in love with me and I was with him.”

However, now as a grown adult, she feels that he was manipulative toward her. Davis in 2002 and 2003 wrote a dozen love letters to her that were sexually explicit. The woman’s mother had them saved for nearly 20 years after discovering them in her daughter’s bedroom.

Near the end of the morning session, testimony began from a woman named Crystal Frank, whose husband Perry died suddenly at CHRISTUS following heart surgery in 2017.

Perry performed in the U.S. Naval Band for more than 20 years and traveled the world doing what he loved, Crystal said. After retirement, he decided to become a school teacher.

After a doctor’s appointment revealed that he was in dire need of heart surgery, Perry was booked for an operation at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Louis Owens and Peach Heart Hospital.

Like many of the victims from the first portion of the trial, Perry’s surgery went well and his post-op nurse Gray Fowler said Perry “was one of the easiest patients” he ever had. Fowler became emotional when testifying about Perry’s health collapse that seemed to come out of nowhere.

In the middle of the night after surgery, Perry suddenly took a turn for the worse and he quickly became unresponsive. After more than an hour of chest compressions and other emergency procedures, Perry was pronounced dead on June 22, 2017. Crystal was unable to make it to the hospital in time before he passed away.

Prosecutors also hinted at two other alleged victims who passed away at the hands of Davis and three others who survived. If true, this would double the victim count to 12 people: seven killed and five survivors.

Putman said they would be finished with their portion of the sentencing phase likely by Monday or Tuesday of next week.

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