COLUMBUS (WCHM) — William Husel was still being held on a $1 million bond at the Franklin County Jail Thursday afternoon – more than 24 hours after his arraignment on 25 counts of murder.
Husel is accused of ordering excessive and deadly doses of fentanyl for critically ill patients under his care. Prosecutors say experts will testify that injections of 500 micrograms or more of fentanyl for patients being removed from a ventilator has no medical justification and will cause death.
Richard Blake, Husel’s attorney, said his client never intended to kill anyone.
Attorney Mark Collins said the prosecution will have to prove that Husel purposely caused the deaths of the patients.
“For every argument, there’s going to be a counter argument on the other side because that’s what intent cases are and they’re difficult for the prosecution because you can’t see into someone’s mind,” Collins said.
Trial consultant John Camillus says when jurors see that this happened over and over again over a period of four years, they will assume there was intent. He said the defense will have to develop a narrative that moves them off that assumption.
“Trials are always all about stories,” Camillus said. “The best trial lawyers provide the jury with a story and the side that wins is the side that tells a more compelling story that the jurors latch on to more quickly.”
The key for the defense, Camillus said, will be to find a believable story to explain why Husel was prescribing those levels of fentanyl for all of those patients.
Collins believe the testimony of experts will be the key.
“Really it comes down to simple concepts – can the prosecution prove the mental element of purposeful beyond a reasonable doubt and what are the experts going to say,” Collin said.
“When you narrow it down, that’s what the case is about.”
The case was assigned to Judge Michael Holbrook.