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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Nurse bags three life jails plus 380 years for killing 17 patients with insulin

A Pennsylvania nurse connected to the deaths of 17 patients who were given fatal doses of insulin has been sentenced to hundreds of years behind bars.

Heather Pressdee of Natrona Heights pleaded guilty in a Butler County courtroom to three counts of first-degree murder and 19 counts of criminal attempt to commit murder, Attorney General Michelle Henry’s office said in a news release.

Presdee, 41, was a nurse at Quality Life Services before her arrest in May 2023.

Pressdee’s crimes began in 2020, with her administering “lethal and potentially lethal doses of insulin” to at least 22 patients at facilities Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties, prosecutors said.

Seventeen of the patients “died very soon” or “sometime later” after receiving the insulin doses, according to Attorney General Henry’s office.

Pressdee will be incarcerated for three consecutive life sentences after pleading to the three counts of first-degree murder, plus an additional 380 to 760 years of consecutive jail time for the 19 counts of criminal attempt to commit murder, according to prosecutors.

“The defendant used her position of trust as a means to poison patients who depended on her for care,” Attorney General Henry said in a statement. “This plea and life sentence will not bring back the lives lost, but it will ensure Heather Pressdee never has another opportunity to inflict further harm. I offer my sincere sympathy to all who have suffered at this defendant’s hands.”

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How did Heather Pressdee get caught?
Attorney General Henry became aware of Pressdee’s crimes when her office received a referral in late 2022 regarding a patient under the nurse’s care, according to Henry’s office.

A “comprehensive investigation” ensued and revealed the “numerous deaths” caused by Pressdee’s actions.

Pennsylvania state records show Pressdee’s registered nurse license was issued on July 31, 2018, and was going to expire at the end of October 2023. The license was renewed in August 2021 and marked active on the Pennsylvania Department of State website in May 2023 before Pressdee’s arrest.

Pressdee was also disciplined at 11 former nursing jobs in Western Pennsylvania for “abusive behavior toward patients or staff, and either resigned or was fired from each facility,” according to the initial criminal complaint obtained by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Charges against Pressdee were filed in May and November 2023, prosecutors said. Presdee remained incarcerated in Butler County prison since being arrested in her home.

Victims’ families react
Relatives of Pressdee’s victims spoke during the registered nurse’s sentencing hearing and said they experienced “pain and anguish caused by learning their loved one’s death was not natural, but was caused by a criminal act,” Henry’s office said.

“She’s pure evil,” said Melinda Brown, the sister of victim Nicholas Cymbol, according to WTAE-TV of Pittsburgh. “There’s no justice for this. We’ll get justice when she meets her maker.”

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Elizabeth Simons Ozella, daughter of victim Irene Simons, told the station that unlike some other victim family members, she will never forgive Pressdee.

“We’re angry and hurt that she disguised herself as a caring nurse,” she said. “She took someone from this earth that she had no right to take, and she played God when she didn’t have that right.”

Gracie Brown, with agency reports
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