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The Ohio doctor charged with the deaths of 14 hospital patients was acquitted on all counts on Wednesday after a jury deliberated for more than a week.
Dr. William Husel was found not guilty of 14 murder charges alleging his decision to prescribe excessive painkillers resulted in the deaths of his patients at the Columbus-based Mount Carmel Health System. He has been charged in cases involving at least 500 micrograms of the powerful painkiller fentanyl.
Jurors began deliberating on April 12 and were instructed to consider less serious charges as well.
Prosecutors said ordering such doses for a non-surgical situation indicated an intent to end lives. Husel had pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of murder, with his lawyers saying he provided comfort care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.
Both the prosecution and defense rested last month after a week-long trial that began on February 22. Jurors sitting for the trial heard from 53 prosecution witnesses, including medical experts, Mount Carmel employees, investigators and family members of the 14 patients.
Husel’s defense team called a single witness on March 30 – a Georgian anesthetist who said Husel’s patients died of their medical conditions, not Husel’s actions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.