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Dr. William Husel
Trial Updates

William Scott Husel is an American physician and accused serial killer who is alleged to have murdered a minimum of 27 people from February 11, 2015, to November 20, 2018, by fentanyl overdosage at the Mount Carmel West and St. Ann's Hospitals in Columbus, Ohio.[2] Having turned himself in on June 5, 2019, Husel is currently on trial in which he faces 14 counts of murder.

From February 2015 to November 2018, Husel was alleged to have prescribed excessive amounts of fentanyl to his patients. The first murder was alleged to have begun on February 10, 2015, when a patient was administered 400 micrograms of fentanyl. Over the course of two and a half years, 34 deaths of patients occurred, the vast majority of whom had been prescribed an inordinate dosage of fentanyl before their deaths. Mount Carmel Health System accused Husel of all 34, though 6 of the deaths were not believed to be a result of Husel's prescribing by authorities.

Franklin County jury finds former doctor William Husel not guilty on all 14 murder counts

Updated: 10:35 PM EDT April 20, 2022

Former Mount Carmel Health systems doctor William Husel walked out of the Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse on Wednesday a free man.

A jury found the former intensive care doctor not guilty on all 14 counts of murder in connection with the death of patients in his care after a seven-week trial and more than a week of deliberation.

As Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Holbrook read each verdict form, his wife, Mariah Baird, seated in the gallery behind Husel, watched and smiled. As the final form was read, she wrapped her arms around her sister and wept. She later hugged her husband.

Husel, standing next to one of his defense attorneys, Diane Menashe, wiped tears from his eyes after the verdicts were read.

After deliberating since 10 a.m. April 12, the six male and six femalejurors initially could not all agree on whether Husel, 46, purposefully killed 14 of his patients between 2015 and 2018.

William Husel trial:What we know about the defense team's decision to rest its case in William Husel trial

With even one guilty verdict for murder, Husel would have served life in prison with eligibility for parole in 15 years.

"This was the only verdict that justice could have given," said Husel's other defense attorney, Jose Baez. "This verdict speaks to not only William but all those doctors and nurses out there who are attempting their best to give comfort care in a very difficult situation. They don’t need to be looking over their shoulder wondering if they’re ever going to get charged with a crime."

What's next for Husel?

Husel still faces more than 10 active civil lawsuits from the families of patients who died while under his care.

Several families have already settled civil lawsuits worth millions of dollars.

After the jury had left the courtroom to meet with Holbrook, Husel was asked whether he was relieved. "Yeah," he replied. Friends of his family said that he has been going to church daily.

Asked about this, Husel said, "My lawyer doesn't want me making any comments."

Baez said Husel hopes to one day practice medicine again in the future. Husel's license was suspended by the Ohio Medical Board and he allowed its renewal to lapse.


Third day of jury deliberations conclude in Dr. William Husel murder trial

Updated: 5:43 PM EDT April 14, 2022

The jury will resume their deliberations Monday at 9 a.m

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jurors deliberating the murder case against former Mount Carmel doctor William Husel have concluded their third day of deliberations.

They will resume their deliberations Monday at 9 a.m., Judge Michael Holbrook told reporters Thursday afternoon.

All told, the jurors have deliberated for approximately 17 hours since beginning their work Tuesday morning.

On Thursday, jurors had another question – asking if they could review an exhibit detailing how medications were removed from a dispensing machine in the Mount Carmel West’s intensive care unit.

It marked the third time jurors asked to review something that was not entered into evidence.

In each case, the jurors were told they were supplied with the materials that were entered into evidence, so they would not be able to review materials that were not.

Earlier questions by the jury sought to review a posterboard used by defense attorney Jose Baez that detailed other patients who were extubated by Dr. Husel. They had also sought to see articles referenced by defense witness Dr. Joel Zivot.

Zivot compiled a report for the defense which mirrored their chief argument – which is that it was the patients’ underlying illnesses that led to their deaths – not Husel’s drug orders.

Prosecutors allege that Husel’s drug orders were excessive – so excessive their experts concluded – that they either outright killed these patients or hastened the deaths of the critically ill patients under Husel’s care.

Many of the patients received large doses of fentanyl and other sedatives around the time that their ventilators and breathing tubes were being removed. Prosecutors have said Husel was the only physician at Mount Carmel who was using 500 micrograms of fentanyl or more outside of the operating room on patients not on ventilators.

Husel’s legal defense team says he was providing comfort care medication in order to prevent patients from suffering a painful death.


Husel trial updates: Defense rests their case after calling one witness

Former Mount Carmel Health System doctor William Husel is facing trial on 14 counts of murder for allegedly hastening the deaths of patients in the intensive care unit by prescribing excessive doses of painkillers.

It's been more than a month of testimony so far as Franklin County prosecutors put 53 witnesses on the stand: loved ones of the 14 alleged victims, nurses, investigators, health system executives and lots of experts. The prosecution rested its case Tuesday.

Husel's defense attorneys began presenting their case Wednesday. They are expect to argue that Husel was providing comfort care to patients who were in their final hours of life.

'The defense rests'

In a surprise move on Thursday morning, Husel's defense team rested their case after calling one witness.

The prosecution then said they would not be presenting any rebuttal testimony.

Husel's team had been expected to present at least two other expert witnesses, however, those witnesses will no longer be called.

Closing arguments are expected to be held at 9 a.m. Monday morning.

'A person that is dead requires nothing'

On Wednesday morning, Dr. Joel Zivot, an anesthesiologist and critical care specialist at Emory University in Atlanta, was the first witness for Husel's defense.

Before the jury was brought into the courtroom for the day, Zivot and the attorneys met behind closed doors for nearly an hour.

When testimony got underway, Zivot, who has been practicing medicine for 27 years, said he has also studied and authored articles regarding ethics in medicine. Zivot testified that he reviewed the medical records of the 14 patients in the case at no cost and was only paid for his travel expenses.

Under questioning from defense attorney Jose Baez, Zivot testified that he believed all 14 patients for whom Husel is charged with murder died from illnesses and underlying medical conditions — not the dosages of fentanyl ordered by Husel.

Multiple sidebars were held Wednesday afternoon as the prosecution cross-examination of Zivot began. Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Taylor Mick asked Zivot about a copy of his resume from a previous case in Florida where he had testified.

Mick asked Zivot whether he authored his own resume or if he had someone else assist him with that. Zivot testified that he did his own resume and then was asked about the Florida resume, particularly a Bachelor's of Science degree and a Master's degree.

Zivot testified that he did not actually possess those specific degrees and that an assistant authored the resume, with Zivot failing to catch the error.

"Didn't you just testify that you prepare your own CV?," Mick asked.

Under further cross-examination Wednesday, Zivot also testified that patients who are brain dead are no longer considered alive. Family members of at least four patients called by the prosecution had testified that Husel told them he had diagnosed their loved ones as brain dead.

Zivot said giving any medication to those patients, including fentanyl, would be unnecessary, even if the patient maintained a heartbeat.

"A person that is dead requires nothing," Zivot said. "There's no reason to give a dead person anything. I'm sorry, a former person."

"I don't know why someone would give fentanyl to someone who's dead," Zivot testified a few minutes later.

Zivot also testified about the necessity for critical care doctors to provide families with complete information to get informed consent, as well as the need to be present bedside to assess pain in real-time.

"The only monitor we have for pain is empathy," Zivot said, adding that doctors have to be present at a patient's bedside during end of life to determine whether pain is present.

Multiple loved ones of the deceased patients in this trial have testified that Husel was monitoring their loved one's final moments from a nurses' station in the Mount Carmel West intensive care unit, not in the patients' room.

Prior to testifying, prosecutors had sought to exclude Zivot's testimony because he had spoken with Husel while generating his opinions, which is barred by Ohio's evidence rules. There also was discussion that should Zivot testify about what Husel said, it could force Husel to relinquish his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

During his testimony Wednesday, Zivot did not mention his conversations with Husel, avoiding the issue.

It is not known how many witnesses the defense will call. As the case has progressed since Husel's indictment in 2019, the defense has submitted a list of more than 100 names of potential witnesses, including doctors and nurses who have already testified for the prosecution in the case.

--Bethany Bruner

Fight over witnesses:Three defense experts should be barred from testifying in Husel trial, prosecutors argue

Who is lawyer Diane Menashe?

Husel's defense team is led by two notable names: Diane Menashe and Jose Baez.

Menashe is a local attorney with Ice Miller. She previously has defended high-profile clients Brian Golsby, who was convicted of killing Ohio State University student Reagan Tokes, and Quentin Smith, who was convicted of killing Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering.

Who is Jose Baez and why is he famous?

Baez is an attorney based in Florida who was hired by Husel.

He came to national notoriety by defending Casey Anthony in 2011, who was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Anthony was found not guilty of murder.

Baez went on to represent Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end, in a case in which Hernandez was acquitted of killing two people after an altercation at a Boston nightclub.

The attorney, who also briefly represented Harvey Weinstein, has also appeared on television shows as a commentator and has published books about the Anthony and Hernandez cases.

Menashe and Baez are expected to be assisted by Gabrielle McCabe and Jaime Lapidus, both of Baez's law firm, during the course of the trial.

Who are the victims?

Husel is currently charged with intentionally giving doses of fentanyl that the prosecution contends were lethal to 14 patients. Those patients are Joanne S. Bellisari, 69; Ryan Hayes, 39; Beverlee Ann Schirtzinger, 63; Danny Mollette, 74; ; Brandy McDonald, 37; Francis Burke, 73; Jeremia Hodge, 57; James Allen, 80; Troy Allison, 44; Bonnie Austin, 64; James Nickolas Timmons, 39; Sandra Castle, 80; Rebecca Walls, 75; and Melissa Penix, 82.


Intensive care doctor testifies in Dr. William Husel's murder trial

Updated: 6:11 PM EDT March 22, 2022

Dr. John Schweiger, an intensive care doctor in Florida, said a 1,000 microgram dose of fentanyl contributed to a patient's death.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An intensive care expert from Florida took the stand to testify in the murder trial of former Mount Carmel physician Dr. William Husel.

Dr. William Husel, a former overnight physician at the hospital, is accused of ordering fatal doses of fentanyl to be given to 14 patients under his care.

Dr. John Schweiger, an expert in critical care and anesthesia from Tampa, was asked about the fentanyl doses Husel ordered for his patients.

Husel is accused of hastening the deaths of 14 patients by ordering an excessive amount of fentanyl. The defense argues he was providing comfort care to patients in their final moments.

Dr. Schweiger was specifically asked about one of the patients, 69-year-old Joanne Bellisari. She was in the hospital for two weeks in 2015 before she was removed from life support.

Schweiger testified he would have given Bellisari 100 micrograms of fentanyl. Husel is accused of giving her 10 times that amount.

"In my professional opinion, within a reasonable medical certainty, the decision to administer 1,000 micrograms of fentanyl, which I believe was received at 11:32 p.m. did cause and or contribute to the hastening of Bellisari's death," Schweiger said.

Bellisari died eight minutes after receiving the dose of fentanyl.

Schweiger was also asked about another patient who died under Husel's care. Ryan Hayes was admitted in 2017 after suffering cardiac arrest.

Husel ordered 2,000 micrograms for Hayes along with other medications. The prosecution asked whether that amount of fentanyl was justifiable.

"No. Given Hayes' presentation to the hospital, his lack of neurological improvement during the two-plus days he was at Mount Carmel West, there would be no justifiable medical indication to give these medications of these particularly elevated doses," Schweiger said.

Dr. Schweiger is expected to continue his testimony on Wednesday.

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