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Husel 'incredibly relieved' after not guilty verdict, defense attorney Baez says

A jury found Husel not guilty Wednesday on all 14 counts of murder.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defense attorney Jose Baez responded to Wednesday's verdict after a jury found former Mount Carmel physician Dr. William Husel not guilty on all 14 counts of murder, calling it a "relief" more than a victory. 

The verdict came on the sixth day of jury deliberations, and after weeks worth of testimony from 54 witnesses, some of whom of were loved ones of the 14 patients named in the case.  

Prosecutors alleged Husel's doses of fentanyl and other drugs hastened the deaths of those patients. Husel's attorney's Baez and Diane Menashe, however, claimed the former physician was providing comfort care to dying patients. 

"I'm deeply saddened that William had to go through this," said Baez. "But this is a moment, really one of relief as opposed to victory, because of the prospective dangers that this case could have brought to health care professionals and future patients." 

Baez said he took Husel's case because he wanted to fight for a doctor's right to handle pain aggressively, adding "because sometimes pain can be aggressive to human beings."  

Prosecutors called Husel's doses -- which ranged up to 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl -- "unnecessary" and "excessive," with one prosecuting witness likening them as being enough to take down an elephant.  

"I think this was the only verdict that justice could have given," said Baez. "This verdict speaks to not only William, but all of those doctors and nurses out there who are attempting their best to give comfort care in a very difficult situation. They don't need to be looking over their shoulders, wondering if they're going to be charged with a crime."  

You can watch Baez's comments in the player below:

Baez spoke on behalf of Husel and his family, calling them "incredibly grateful" and "incredibly relieved." 

Jurors were given the option to choose between murder or a lesser charge of attempted murder. 

During last week's closing arguments, Baez argued, "this is not a murder case, and it's a not attempted murder to just try to get a charge to stick…" 

After jurors announced they were at an impasse earlier in the week, Judge Michael Holbrook urged members to continue deliberating. Those deliberations stretched nearly a week before a verdict was reached Wednesday. 

Ultimately, jurors found Husel not guilty on all 14 counts.

"I think the science is clear and I think the evidence is clear that William Husel was a great doctor and hopefully can be again some day," Baez stated.  

According to a 10 Investigates' review of probate records, Mount Carmel Health System has paid out more than $20 million to the families of patients stemming from the dosing scandal. 

The family members of those patients were not immediately available for comment. 

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