Ex-nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer felt ‘red surge’ before killing elderly patients
She was angry at her career and her life. Her elderly patients, some suffering from dementia, were easy prey.
Former registered nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, who pleaded guilty in Superior Court today to 14 charges including first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault, told the court that a “red surge” would come over her when she was about to kill someone.
She described some of her patients as spunky and stubborn, annoying and “a handful.”
Wettlaufer worked at homes in the Ontario communities of Woodstock, Paris, and London, often as the registered nurse overseeing the nightshifts.
In October, Wettlaufer was charged in the deaths of eight residents at nursing homes in Woodstock and London. In January, she faced six additional charges related to seniors in her care. She worked at the facilities between 2007 and 2014.
Family members of Wettlaufer’s victims are braced for a long and emotional day in court. Some broke down in the courtroom as Wettlaufer entered her pleas.
- LIVE: CBC Reporters in Woodstock court
- Elizabeth Wettlaufer expected to plead guilty in nursing home killings
They have already heard that the ex-nurse told police she knew that the Woodstock long-term care facility where she worked didn’t strictly monitor insulin supplies.
She used insulin pens to administer lethal and non-lethal doses of the drug to kill eight people and seriously harm six.
How much she was injecting was “kind of hit and miss,” Wettlaufer told police.
“I honestly thought God wanted to use me,” Wettlaufer told police during an almost three-hour taped confession that is being played in court today.
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Wettlaufer stood up straight and spoke clearly and concisely as she pleaded guilty to the charges.
“You realize that first-degree murder is punishable with life in prison?” Justice Bruce Thomas asked Wettlaufer.
“Yes, your honour,” she answered.
In one case, a victim’s family thanked Wettlaufer for her care. They had no idea she had just killed the patient.
After injecting another of her victims, she got what she told police was “a laughing feeling.”
She left for on a Caribbean cruise the next day.
Wettlaufer confirmed that she was not intoxicated by drugs or alcohol while injecting victims with insulin with the intent to kill.
“You knew this could be fatal?” Thomas asked Wettlaufer.
“Yes, your honour,” she answered.
Sometime after 2 p.m. ET, court will be shown Wettlaufer’s taped confession.
“She will be telling us why and how, and we will all know the final moments of our loved one’s lives,” Susan Horvath, the daughter of Arpad Horvath, one of the seniors Wettlaufer is charged with killing, said before Thursday’s hearing.
Each charge will be dealt with separately, Horvath said.
“There are so many counts and so many people. They’ll be going through every one individually.”
Wettlaufer’s mother, Hazel Parker, told CBC News her daughter has asked that her parents not be in court for her appearance today. They instead planned to speak to her Wednesday night by telephone from the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, Ont.
Parker said her daughter has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is receiving medication.
“What has been lost in the media is that had Beth not come forward, police never would have known any of this. She’s dealing with this the best she can,” Parker said.
Wettlaufer waived her right to a preliminary hearing in April and instead opted to go straight to trial.
The families of those Wettlauffer killed were told their victim impact statements will likely be read in court June 26 and June 27. Typically, victim impact statements are entered on the day of sentencing.
The police investigation into Wettlaufer began last September after Toronto police became aware of information she had given to a psychiatric hospital in Toronto that caused them concern, a police source told The Canadian Press.
Records from the College of Nurses of Ontario show Wettlaufer was first registered as a nurse in August 1995, and resigned Sept. 30, 2016.