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Judge encourages jury to resume work after announcing they were at an impasse in Husel murder trial

The announcement comes on the fourth day of deliberations, and after weeks of testimony from 54 witnesses.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jurors in the murder trial of former Mount Carmel doctor William Husel will resume their deliberations Tuesday morning – hours after telling the judge they were at an impasse.

News of a potential deadlock came around noon Monday, but Judge Michael Holbrook gave them a charge to resume their deliberations.

The judge then read them a charge - encouraging them to take lunch and then resume their deliberations Monday afternoon.

A copy of the charge the judge read to jurors can be found here.

Returning from their lunch break the jury resumed its work around 1 p.m. Around 3 p.m. they sent a question to court – asking if they could get some guidance on what reasonable doubt is? Judge Michael Holbrook told them that they have their instructions of law and that reasonable doubt was defined for them. 

Monday marked the fourth day of deliberations in the murder trial of Husel – who is accused of killing 14 patients under his care through overprescribing medications including fentanyl and other medications.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors have argued that Husel’s drug orders were excessive and that they outright killed or hastened the deaths of these patients.

Husel’s legal defense team – including attorneys Jose Baez and Diane Menashe – have argued that Husel was providing comfort care medication to the patients under his care in order to prevent them from suffering or enduring what they called “a bad death.”

The defense’s chief argument was that it was the patients’ underlying medical conditions that killed them – not Husel’s drug orders.

Prosecutors acknowledged that the patients were critically ill or dying but that it was not a defense to state that they were dying – arguing Husel’s motive “could’ve been pure, but it is a crime to kill a dying person. It is not a defense.”

During closing arguments last week, Baez told jurors: “this is not a murder case, and it's a not attempted murder to just try to get a charge to stick…”

Judge Michael Holbrook told jurors last week that they had the ability to consider attempted murder as a lesser included offense, but that it was not a substitute for being unable to reach a verdict on the murder charges.

Among the 14 patients tied to this murder trial, 11 of them received dosages of fentanyl that were at least 1,000 micrograms or more.

Prosecutors argue those dosages were excessive and hastened the deaths of these patients.

Here are the counts as named in the indictment and the patients associated with each:

  • Count 1: Murder for the death of Joanne Bellisari 
  • Count 2: Murder for the death of Ryan Hayes 
  • Count 3: Murder for the death of Beverlee Schirtzinger 
  • Count 4: Murder for the death of Danny Mollette 
  • Count 5: Murder for the death of Brandy McDonald 
  • Count 6: Murder for the death of Francis Burke 
  • Count 7: Murder for the death of Jeremia "Sue" Hodge 
  • Count 8: Murder for the death of James Allen 
  • Count 9: Murder for the death of Troy Allison 
  • Count 10: Murder for the death of Bonnie Austin 
  • Count 11: Murder for the death of James Nick Timmons  
  • Count 12: Murder for the death of Sandra Castle 
  • Count 13: Murder for the death of Rebecca Walls  
  • Count 14: Murder for the death of Melissa Penix 

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