The charges against Dr. William Husel, 43, represent one of the biggest murder cases ever brought against a health care professional in the United States. He has pleaded not guilty to the 25 counts of murder and a judge set his bail at $1 million. Each charge carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison if convicted.
The death penalty is not an option in this case because that would require an aggravated murder charge.
“We were comfortable pursuing murder charges. Based on that investigation and the expert testimony as opposed to believing we could prove aggravated murder, so the death penalty never really was under consideration,” says Prosecutor Ron O’Brien.
Husel was fired from the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System in December and stripped of his medical license after the allegations against him began to surface. An internal hospital investigation found that he had ordered potentially fatal drug doses for dozens of patients over his five years at the hospital.
Husel’s lawyer claims he did not intend to kill anyone.
Mount Carmel Health System’s President and CEO, Ed Lamb, released a statement in regard to the charges against Husel.
“We appreciate the County Prosecutor’s leadership and his ongoing commitment to justice in this case. Following the discovery of the actions of Dr. Husel, we notified appropriate authorities, including law enforcement. We have shared information with them and will continue to fully cooperate throughout their investigation.”
The statement continued with, “At the request of the County Prosecutor, and because this is now an ongoing criminal proceeding, Mount Carmel will not comment further on the specific facts or circumstances surrounding the care provided by Dr. Husel. For more information about Mount Carmel’s previous statements and actions relating to Dr. Husel, visit the fact page on MountCarmelHealth.com.”
The motive of this trusted physician remains unclear. Though many of the patients were seriously ill, hospital officials said some might have improved with treatment, and police Sgt. Terry McConnell said none of the families who talked with police believed that what happened was “mercy treatment.”