COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– After a more than three-year public saga, the fate of former Mount Carmel West physician William Husel is in the hands of a Franklin County jury as they began deliberations Tuesday morning.
Husel, 46, is facing life in prison if convicted of the 14 counts of murder listed below. Per jury instructions read by Judge Michael Holbrook prior to the start of deliberations, jurors are allowed to consider the lesser offense of attempted murder for each of the counts.
- Murder of Joanne S. Bellisari
- Murder of Ryan Hayes
- Murder of Beverlee Ann Schirtzinger
- Murder of Danny Mollette
- Murder of Brandy McDonald
- Murder of Francis Burke
- Murder of Jeremia “Sue” Hodge
- Murder of James Allen
- Murder of Troy Allison
- Murder of Bonnie Austin
- Murder of James Nikolas Timmons
- Murder of Sandra Castle
- Murder of Rebecca Walls
- Murder of Melissa Penix
After starting their deliberations around 10 a.m., the only on-the-record activity from the jury came after 5 hours when jurors asked about obtaining copies of articles referred to by expert witnesses during their testimonies. Attorneys agreed on a specifically worded response from the judge about why they could not have copies of those articles for reference.
During closing arguments Monday, the prosecution attempted to drive home their allegations that Husel ordered fatal doses of the painkiller fentanyl and other drugs for 14 patients, with the removal of a ventilator. Meantime, defense attorneys tried to convince the jury that the doctor was providing the patients comfort care.
A week-long delay stalled the delivery of those closing arguments last week. A possible reason for the postponements came to light when the Ohio Supreme Court confirmed it had received an affidavit of disqualification to have Holbrook removed from presiding over the case. The affidavit was filed along with a motion to seal it, keeping its contents concealed for the time; therefore, it is not known who filed the request nor the reasoning for it.
The prosecution called 53 witnesses during the trial, compared to the one witness called by the defense.
The dozens of witnesses called by the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office team ranged from former Mount Camel executives, nurses, and pharmacists to victims’ family members, a Columbus Division of Police detective, and expert doctors.
“This case is a mountain — a mountain of evidence, information, technical data, and criminality against 14 innocent and seriously ill individuals,” said Franklin County Assistant Prosecutor Janet Grubb.
Husel’s defense team, comprised of Columbus attorney Diane Menashe and Florida-based attorneys Jose Baez and Jamie Lapidus, called one expert witness: Dr. Joel Zivot, a physician from Emory University.
“William Husel was exercising compassion to his patients and tried to free them from pain and let their last moments on earth be ones of peace,” Baez argued.
CLICK HERE for a detailed recap and summary of every day of testimony from the six-week trial.
Prosecuting attorneys include Grubb, David Zeyen, Paula Sawyers, Taylor Mick, and Corinne Buker.
That team asserts this case started years before Mount Carmel says they received the first complaint about Husel’s care of patients in the ICU at the now-shuttered hospital.
- 2015-2018: Patients in Husel’s care die allegedly from an excess amount of painkillers he prescribed
- December 5, 2018: Mount Carmel fires Husel; notifies Franklin County Prosecutor & State Medical Board of Ohio of his actions
- January 14, 2019: Allegations against Husel become public as Mount Carmel reveals the deaths of dozens of patients who received potentially fatal doses of pain medication
- January 25, 2019: State Medical Board of Ohio suspends Husel’s medical license
- June 5, 2019: Husel turns himself in to police, charged with 25 counts of murder
- June 7, 2019: Husel posts bond, released from jail
- July 11, 2019: Mount Carmel CEO resigns; 23 Mount Carmel employees fired in connection to Husel case
- August 7, 2019: Husel hires Jose Baez as defense attorney
- December 26, 2019: Husel files defamation lawsuit against Mount Carmel Health
- January 20, 2022: 11 of the 25 murder charges against Husel dropped
- February 14, 2022: Jury selection begins
- February 16, 2022: 12 jurors and six alternates selected
- February 22, 2022: Prosecution and defense give opening statements; prosecution begins nearly six-week process of calling witnesses
- March 29, 2022: Prosecution rests case after calling 53 witnesses
- March 30, 2022: Defense calls first and only witness
- March 31, 2022: Defense rests case
- April 11, 2022: Prosecution and defense give closing arguments
- April 12, 2022: Jury begins deliberations