Wednesday 13 September 2017

The confession of a serial killer                                            

Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s became a serial killer because she felt a “red surge” while she gave lethal injections to her eight patients she murdered is the tale of a troubled nurse who couldn’t handle the thankless demands of her job—looking after elderly people in two nursing homes in the province of Ontario, Canada. 

After Ms. Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to murdering eight patients in the Woodstock, Ontario, court exhibits filed in court detailed how she had been in trouble since the start of her nursing career such as  stealing drugs and ultimately killing people as a way to relieve her anxieties.

According  to a summary in her discharge file from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Toronto facility where she revealed her homicidal past; by giving vulnerable people a potentially lethal dose of insulin, she felt both more powerful and a release of this pressure.

In a four-page handwritten confession, she repeatedly described herself as being frustrated as she faced patients with dementia who were unco-operative, physically abusive or despondent about life. While alcohol and opioids provided her with some relief from the stress at times, she often could not find an adequate method to manage the building pressure she had to deal with.

She explained that she started to intentionally overdose patients whom she was working with in order to relieve the stress. The summary says that she was diagnosed as having a major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder and antisocial adult behaviour, accompanied by mild alcohol and opioid use disorders. This didn’t make her insane however.

“I was a binge user,” she said about her addiction to the painkiller hydromorphone. The remark came as she was interviewed by police before her arrest in the fall of 2016.

She explained that she would hoard her patients’ hydromorphone and give them instead a laxative pill. “They couldn’t tell the difference,” she told Woodstock police Detective Constable Nathan Hergott.

She told him that she initially worked in remote Town of Geraldton, north of Thunder Bay. She had her licence restricted for a time early in her nursing career due to overdosing her patients on hospital medication while at work.

By 2014, after her divorce, she was hired by the Caressant Care facility in Woodstock, where she was in charge of 32 patients during her overnight shifts.

Describing to Det. Constable Hergott the eight murders, four attempted murders and two aggravated assaults that she committed, Ms. Wettlaufer said that “part of me started to believe that it was the devil and part of me thought it might be God.”

She also acknowledged that she struggled to cope with her tasks. She said, “It’s a hard job and then they would add different things like, “Oh, you have to do this and that, to say who’s here and counting the medications at the end of the shift. I always was putting this pressure on myself to be a really good nurse and to do everything perfectly.” unquote

The first five patients that she murdered—James Silcox, Maurice Granat, Gladys Millard, Helen Matheson and Mary Zurawinski—either had Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or were known to be difficult to the staff. In her written confession, Ms. Wettlaufer repeatedly described herself as being angry or exasperated when she gave her victims fatal injections.

Between the fall of 2011 and the summer of 2013, there was a 20-month gap in the killings. She said she was trying to stop her homicidal streak by immersing herself in the Bible. “I was trying very, very hard to get close to God,” she told Det. Constable Hergott.

Then in July, 2013, she went back to killing by murdering Helen Young, 90, who had dementia and Maureen Pickering, 78, who had dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

She said in her confession, “Sometimes I had to be with her one-on-one, as well as give pills to 32 people, do paperwork and do treatments. I was angry, frustrated and irritated,” she said in her written confession about killing Ms. Pickering.

Some of these victims could have lived longer if it wasn’t for the decisions made by four people whom she had admitted to killing some of her patients.

A church pastor prayed over this killer after she told him what she had done. He told her not to kill again. He told her that if she did this again, he would turn her in. A lawyer advised her to take her murderous secrets to her grave. A Narcotics Anonymous sponsor dismissed her insinuations of harming seniors as the talk of a pathological liar, while an ex-boyfriend attributed her confessions of killing nursing home patients to a "psychiatric episode."

I have nothing by contempt for these four fools. Had any one of these fools gone to the police and told them what this woman had told them, she would have been immediately removed from the nursing homes and a full investigation would have been undertaken by both the police and the coroner resulting in her arrest and charges.  

In September 2016, nine years after the Woodstock, Ontario nurse administered the first fatal insulin injection on a senior in her care, Wettlaufer voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility in order to make sure that her confessions were read and heeded, and not just heard by others. Three weeks after leaving the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto in early October 2016, Wettlaufer was arrested.

She admitted in court that she did all the things she was accused of doing and subsequently, she was found guilty of all of them. She went back to court in June 2017 to be sentenced. But first, the families would have an opportunity to address the court and this murderer about how they felt about their loved ones being killed by this psycho. It is then that she would be sentenced.

In cases of multiple murder, after considering the jury's recommendation (if there was one), a court may also order that the parole inelibility period be served consecutively to the one being served. Amendments to the Criminal Code in 2011 permits a judge to impose consecutive parole ineligibility periods for first or second-degree murders committed as part of the same transaction or as part of the same series of offences.

Justin Bourque who was convicted of the first-degree murders of three RCMP officers in Moncton New Brunswick in 2014 was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years. Consecutive parole ineligibility periods were also imposed in the case of serial killer, John Paul Ostamas in June 2016, who was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years for the second-degree murders of three homeless men in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered six of her victims, however, after the law with respect to consecutive sentences was passed in 2011; that means that her sentences for three of the murders alone would be 75 years. The sentences for the other two murders and the other crimes she committed in those nursing homes are purely academic.

Her current sentences were to be concurrent and not consecutive which  means that she can apply for parole after 25 years, but her judge noted there was no guarantee that she would   get it. He gave her only 25 years instead of 75 years for three of the murders because she pleaded guilty, thereby saving the families having to hear the terrible details as to how she murdered their loved ones. She is currently 50 years of age. In 25 years, she will be 75 years old. Will she then be released after just serving 25 years for killing eight of her patients?

One particular Canadian serial killer (Clifford Olsen) killed ten young persons and he was subsequently sentenced to a minimum of 25 years. However, when the 25 years had passed, he remained in the prison for many more years before he died in prison. Hopefully, this killer nurse will share the same fate that Olsen did. 

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