Former Nursing Assistant Who Murdered 7 Veterans With Insulin Gets 7 Life Terms

Reta Mays killed seven elderly patients with the hormone while working at a West Virginia VA medical center.

May 17, 2021

Reta Mays [West Virginia Jail and Correctional Facility Authority]

Reta Mays [West Virginia Jail and Correctional Facility Authority]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A former nursing assistant has been given multiple consecutive life sentences for murdering seven veterans at a West Virginia medical center by injecting them with lethal doses of insulin.

Reta Mays, 46, pleaded guilty in July 2020 to seven counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of veterans Robert Edge Sr., Robert Kozul, Archie Edgell, George Shaw, W.A.H., Felix McDermott, and Raymond Golden, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of West Virginia. She additionally admitted to assault with intent to commit murder of veteran Russell Posey, legal documents state.

Between 2017 and 2018, Mays was working the night shift at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg when she administered the hormone to eight patients between the ages of 81 and 96, NPR reported.

Authorities officially launched a criminal investigation in June 2018 after a doctor reported his concern about several vets who died of hypoglycemia, including one who had no history of diabetes, prosecutors said.

Mays was quickly identified as a person of interest in the case and fired from the hospital after she was exposed for lying about her qualifications, The Washington Post reported.

The former nursing assistant spoke briefly at her sentencing, but did not give a motive for the killings.

"There's no words I can say that would offer any comfort. I can only say I'm sorry for the pain I caused the families and my family," said Mays. "I don't ask for forgiveness, because I don't think I can forgive anyone for doing what I did."

Her attorney, Jay McCamic, claimed his client suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and military sexual trauma followering her service in Iraq and Kuwait from 2003 to 2004.

Michael J. Missal, VA Inspector General, said an extensive healthcare inspection of the hospital uncovered serious and pervasive clinical and administrative failures that contributed to Mays' crimes going undetected.

“I hope that the victims’ families can find some measure of solace knowing that Mays was caught and punished, and that steps are being taken to help ensure other families do not suffer the same loss," Missal added in his statement.

Mays was ordered to pay $172,624.96 in restitution to the victims’ families, the Virigina Hospital, Medicare, and insurance companies.

Original Article 7/16/20:

Aformer nursing assistant pleaded guilty on July 14 to murdering multiple veterans at a West Virginia medical center by injecting them with lethal doses of insulin.

Between 2017 and 2018, Reta Mays, 46, was working the night shift at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg when she administered the hormone to eight elderly patients, causing seven to die after their blood sugar levels plummeted, USA Today reported.

Authorities officially launched a criminal investigation in June 2018 after a doctor reported his concern about the suspicious deaths of 10 older vets, including one who had no history of diabetes but died from an unexplained hypoglycemic episode, prosecutors said.

Mays was quickly identified as a person of interest in the case and fired from the hospital the following month.

She was not qualified or authorized to administer medication, and she was charged with seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder, legal documents state.

Bill Powell, U.S. attorney in West Virginia, said Mays previously had denied she was responsible for the deaths but, in the face of mounting evidence, she recently admitted her guilt to all eight charges against her.

“The VA hospital in Clarksburg had a frightening number of system failures that allowed this person to kill as many people as she did," Tony O'Dell, who represents some of the victims’ families, said in a statement. “The fact that the related deaths continued to pile up shows a complete lack of competence and a total lack of human caring.”

Mays’ motives for committing the murders is reportedly still unclear.

Her sentencing date has not been set, but prosecutors have requested she serve seven consecutive life sentences plus an additional 20-year term.

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