Doctor killed 25 patients, officials say. Can they prove it?

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Experts say prosecutors face a legal hurdle as they pursue 25 murder charges against an Ohio doctor accused of ordering but not directly administering fatal painkiller doses for hospital patients.

William Husel (HYOO’-suhl) pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Columbus. His lawyer says Husel provided “comfort care” for dying patients and didn’t intend to hasten their deaths.

Legal experts say a key challenge for prosecutors would be proving Husel intended to cause deaths, regardless of whether a nurse or other colleague administered the drugs. Prosecutors don’t need to prove a motive.

Mount Carmel Health System fired Husel in December.

The Franklin County prosecutor says other Mount Carmel employees were treated as witnesses and aren’t being prosecuted, though dozens were reported to professional boards for review and possible disciplinary action.

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