TYLER, Texas (KETK) – After years of delays and hearings, it appears that the trial for a former CHRISTUS nurse accused of murdering four patients will finally be able to get underway by the end of the month.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys for William Davis, 37, met briefly Monday in front of 114th District Judge Austin Jackson for what is the final scheduled pre-trial hearing before jury selection begins July 26. It was delayed by one hour due to lawyers meeting in Jackson’s chambers.
The hearing mostly covered the final matter pending before the court: a motion filed by Davis back in April that looked to suppress interviews he gave to police officers before and after he was arrested.
Tyler police contacted Davis on Feb. 15, 2018, to set up an interview with him about a string of incidents at the hospital. The next day, Davis told detectives that he was being represented by Jason Cassel when they called him.
The motion states that investigators “disregarded Mr. Davis’ invocation of counsel and continued his interrogation and took a statement. This statement should be suppressed.”
The motion also contends on an interview he had on April 30 when police confirmed that Davis was no longer represented by Cassel. Officers read him his Miranda rights and took “a lengthy statement” after receiving clearance from then-Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham.
Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman and defense lawyer Melvin Thompson announced to Jackson that the two sides had come to an agreement and would not need to admit the interviews into evidence.
That would negate the need for a suppression hearing and the motion itself.
The last couple minutes of the hearing covered logistical issues with jury selection. Jurors will be screened for COVID-19 before entering the courthouse.
Davis is accused of intentionally introducing air into patients’ arterial lines. An arrest warrant states that security footage showed Davis entering the patients’ rooms and leaving. Almost immediately after, they would suffer a “profound incident” despite being considered stable after surgery..
After a one-week trial, he was sentenced to death after the jury deliberated for 45 minutes.