Yesterday, April 2, 2012, a jury in Angelina County, Texas rejected the death penalty for Kimberly Saenz, a former nurse, and instead sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole. They reportedly deliberated for less than an hour. Last week, the jury convicted Saenz of killing five patients at the DaVita Dialysis Clinic by injecting their IV lines with bleach in April 2008. According to the Associated Press, “she also received three 20-year terms for aggravated assault in the cases of five other patients who were deliberately injured at the facility in East Texas.”
During the sentencing phase, consultant Frank Aubuchon, a 26-year Texas Department of Criminal Justice retiree, described for the jury what prison life will be
like for Saenz. He testified that she will be one of 28 women serving life in prison without parole, a sentencing option that went into effect in Texas in September 2005.
This is the second time this year that a death-qualified jury has rejected the death penalty and opted for a sentence of life without parole. Over the past five years, death-qualified juries have rejected the death penalty in at least 16 capital murder trials. Last year, new death sentences in Texas remained at a historic low level, with just eight sentences statewide.