COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The prosecution rested its case Tuesday in the murder trial against a former Mount Carmel West doctor.
Judge Michael Holbrook adjourned the proceedings Tuesday morning to take care of “judge-related work” regarding the trial.
The only witness on Tuesday called by prosecution was Brian Mollette, the son of Danny Mollette. Danny Mollette is one of Husel’s alleged victims who died in 2017 after receiving what his family said was a lethal dose of fentanyl, versed, and hydromorphone.
Mollette was the prosecution’s final witness as prosecuting attorney David Zeyen announced that they have rested their case after calling 53 witnesses over six weeks.
Both prosecuting and defense attorneys handled procedural issues after the prosecution’s case was rested.
The defense is expected to begin calling witnesses on Wednesday morning when the court resumes.
53 witnesses, ranging from family members of critically ill patients who later died at Mount Carmel to nurses who administered potentially lethal doses of painkillers, have taken the stand thus far at Franklin County Common Pleas Court in a trial that attorneys said could last eight weeks.
While prosecutors allege that Husel ordered excessive, fatal doses of the painkiller fentanyl for his patients, defense attorneys contend that the doctor was providing comfort care for critically ill patients as they were removed from a ventilator.
The sixth week of the trial got underway Monday with a review of the testimony from Beverly Leonard, the daughter of one of Husel’s patients. Defense attorneys argued that Leonard tampered with evidence while on the stand, scratching off labels from a medicine bottle entered into evidence. Holbrook has not ruled whether Leonard’s testimony will be struck from the record.
The first witness of Monday was Derek Dreyer, a licensed nurse who began working at Mt. Carmel West in 2014, who said he had “open communication” with Husel when discussing medical orders.
The case of Bonnie Austin, one of Husel’s alleged victims, was the focus of the next two witnesses in the case, with Austin’s husband David and Austin’s grandson’s girlfriend Tara Schwartz testifying.
Schwartz stated that she was in the ICU with Austin’s family at Mount Camel West when she was under Husel’s care, taken off a ventilator, and died. During her testimony, Schwartz stated that she wrote a letter so she would not forget what she saw in the ICU the day Austin died.
James D. Allen, the son of James G. Allen, one of Husel’s alleged victims, also took the stand Monday. James D. Allen testified that Husel told family members that he would help his father pass quickly without suffering.
Allen testified that someone in the room asked Husel “How do you know” that James G. Allen won’t suffer. Husel reportedly responded, “Experience,” Allen said.
After Allen left the witness stand, the prosecution called Sarah Burnham, the granddaughter of Sarah Castle, one of Husel’s alleged victims, to testify. Burnham recalled a syringe larger than others given to her grandmother, containing a viscous, cloudy fluid.
Here are some of the individuals who may appear during the proceedings:
- Michael Holbrook
- Dr. William Husel
- Jose Baez
- Jaime Lapidus
- Diane Menashe
- Corinne Buker
- Paula Sawyers
- Taylor Mick
- David Zeyen
- Janet Grubb