Photo: Kristen Parker.
"I can't ask for forgiveness," a tearful Parker, 27, told Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena in a Jan. 11 videotaped interview. "I don't expect anybody to forgive me for what I've done. You know, I'm human. I was a drug addict."
Parker said she was stealing the powerful narcotic Fentenol, which is 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, from the operating rooms where she worked, and replacing it with saline. She said she intended to put the saline in clean needles but started to get careless.
Prosecutors say her scheme may have exposed nearly 6,000 patients at two hospitals to the virus that causes the incurable liver disease. Thirty-six of them got infected.
Ahead of a hearing where she'll be sentenced to 20 years in prison, Parker described for prosecutors how she slipped through a hospital's drug screening process and began stealing drugs as she coped with a heroin addiction.
Parker pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by deceit or subterfuge. She admitted stealing syringes from operating carts while employed at Denver's Rose Medical Center and Colorado Springs' Audubon Surgery Center.
Parker's sentencing hearing is set for Friday in federal court in Denver.