Nurse sentenced to life in prison after admitting she intentionally gave patients excessive insulin doses, prosecutors say

A Pennsylvania nurse accused of killing three patients at skilled nursing facilities around the state and attempting to kill 19 other individuals in her care pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to life in prison, according to a news release from Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry.

Former nurse Heather Pressdee’s sentence includes three consecutive life sentences for the first-degree murders and 380 to 760 years of consecutive incarceration for the attempted murders, the release says.

“The defendant used her position of trust as a means to poison patients who depended on her for care,” Henry said. “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.”

Pressdee pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty, her attorney Phillip DiLucente told CNN on Thursday.

Pressdee was charged with intentionally administering lethal and potentially lethal doses of medication to patients between 2020 and 2023 at five different care facilities.

Pressdee had injected the insulin into patients across Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties, according to the release.

She was initially charged in May 2023 with homicide and attempted murder after two men died and a third was hospitalized, CNN previously reported. Pressdee has been incarcerated since her May arrest.

In the criminal complaint filed against the former nurse, Henry’s office said Pressdee admitted to “harming, with the intent to kill” the 19 patients, whose ages ranged from 43 to 104.

She would often administer insulin during the low-staffed night shift hours while working the medicine cart at the facilities, the criminal complaint stated.

“Pressdee often took steps to ensure her victims would expire prior to shift change so that they wouldn’t be sent to the hospital where her scheme could be discovered through medical testing such as C-peptide tests,” according to the criminal complaint.

“Numerous relatives of the victims” gave impact statements this week in Butler County Court, the attorney general’s news release said, sharing the “pain and anguish caused by learning their loved one’s death was not natural, but was caused by a criminal act.”

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