(CBS/AP) LUFKIN, Texas- Kimberly Saenz, a former East Texas nurse who killed five kidney dialysis patients by injecting them with bleach, escaped the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison Monday.
A jury in Angelia County convicted the 38-year-old on Friday of killing five patients and deliberately injuring five others at a clinic run by Denver-based health care giant DaVita Inc.
Saenz was fired in April 2008 after a rash of illnesses and deaths at the clinic in Lufkin, about 125 miles northeast of Houston. Her lawyers argued Saenz wrongly took the blame for the clinic's sloppy procedures.
"She's never getting out no matter what you do," said Steve Taylor, Saenz's lawyer, in his closing remarks, urging jurors to choose a life sentence. "Society is protected. You will never see her again."
Taylor reminded jurors Saenz had been free during the trial. Prosecutors failed to show she would present a future danger for violence, one of the questions jurors must answer in deciding a death penalty.
Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington never specifically urged jurors to impose the death penalty but pointed out how Saenz was found with drugs stolen while she was working as a hospital nurse, and tried to fake a urine test that was required of her.
"I know you'll reach a verdict that's just and in accordance with the law," he said after showing them photos of some of the victims on a large screen in the courtroom.
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