Fired VA employee pleads guilty to multiple veteran homicides

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 10:11 AM EDT
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - A former employee at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center has pleaded guilty to multiple veteran homicides Tuesday.

Reta Mays, 45, pleaded guilty to seven counts of second-degree murder of Robert Edge, Sr., Robert Kozul, Archie Edgell, George Shaw, W.A.H., Felix McDermott, and Raymond Golden. She pled guilty to one count of assault with intent to commit murder involving the death of veteran R.R.P. died two weeks after the incident.

Reta Mays
Reta Mays

“In today’s plea agreement, the defendant has admitted to actions that ended the lives of several military veterans who served our country honorably. Our investigation never lost sight of each of these lives and the sacrifices these men made for their country. The investigative work and the time it took to do it was always done with an eye towards honoring these men. Though we can’t bring these men back because of her evil acts, we hope the conclusion of the investigation and guilty plea helps ease the pain of the victims’ families,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Powell. “I want to thank the incredible work by the FBI, the VA-OIG, the West Virginia State Police, the Greater Harrison Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force and our prosecution team. I also want to especially thank Attorney General Barr, and the families of the victims who never wavered in their support of this investigation. We look forward to the conclusion of this matter at the sentencing, where we will be seeking the maximum penalty.”

Mays worked at the Clarksburg VA as a nursing assistant from 2015 to July 2018.

According to the charging document filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, the incidents took place on the 3A Ward.

Mays administered insulin to eight patients in 2018, according to the charging documents.

The document states nursing assistants were not qualified to administer medication, including insulin.

Around June 2018, a medical doctor employed at the hospital reported a concern about the deaths of the patients who suffered hypoglycemic episodes on the floor, including the deaths of multiple non-diabetic patients, the document states. The concern led to an internal investigation that culminated in a referral for a criminal investigation.

Mays was removed from her position around July 2018.

A plea hearing for Mays is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Families of the victims have filed lawsuits against the Clarksburg VA Medical Center. The first lawsuit was filed in Aug. 2019.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) released a statement Tuesday about the charges brought against Mays.

“My heart goes out to the families and loved ones who tragically lost a Veteran and have had to endure this injustice. While overdue, today justice is finally being served. I hope today’s announcement brings some semblance of peace to their hearts and to the families who are still uncertain about the fate of their Veterans. Today’s news confirms that the nursing assistant at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center murdered Veterans under her care. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I will not stop until we determine how this could have happened, and ensure it never happens again. Our Veterans deserve world-class care and their families deserve peace of mind at every step of the way,” said Manchin.

A spokesperson at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center released the following statement:

“Our hearts go out to those affected by these tragic deaths.

“Clarksburg VA Medical Center discovered these allegations and reported them to VA’s independent inspector general more than two years ago. Clarksburg VA Medical Center also fired the individual at the center of the allegations.

We’re glad the Department of Justice stepped in to push this investigation across the finish line and hopeful our court system will deliver the justice Clarksburg-area Veterans and families deserve.”

The full charging document can be found here.

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