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Pennsylvania nurse pleads guilty to killing nursing home residents with insulin; families call her "pure evil"

Former Pittsburgh-area nurse pleads guilty to giving patients lethal doses of insulin
Former Pittsburgh-area nurse pleads guilty to giving patients lethal doses of insulin 03:00

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Heather Pressdee, the Pennsylvania nurse charged with killing multiple nursing home residents and trying to kill more than a dozen others, pleaded guilty in court Thursday morning. 

Pressdee pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and 19 counts of criminal attempt to commit murder in connection with lethal and potentially lethal doses of insulin to 22 patients at facilities in four counties. She was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for the first-degree murder charges and 380 to 760 years of consecutive incarceration for the other charges. 

Pressdee was charged last May with the deaths of two patients and the hospitalization of a third at Quality Life Services, a skilled nursing facility in Chicora. She was later charged with administering excessive doses of insulin to 19 more patients at five different care facilities between 2020 and 2023. In total, 17 patients under Pressdee's care have died.  

Heather Pressdee is accused of killing multiple nursing home patients by administering excessive doses of insulin.  Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General

During the hearing, the Butler County courtroom of Judge Joseph Kubit was packed with people and filled with both rage and pain. 

Nick Cymbol is one of the patients Pressdee pleaded guilty to killing at Sunnyview Nursing Home in Butler. Pressdee allegedly told another nurse that some patients needed to die. 

Melinda Brown, Cymbol's sister, called Pressdee "pure evil." 

"There's no justice for this. We'll get justice when she meets her maker," Brown said. 

Pressdee allegedly injected Irene Simons with fatal levels of insulin, despite the 78-year-old woman not being diabetic. Simons was also under Pressdee's care at Sunnyview.

"My brother and I needed to come today," said Irene Simons' daughter Elizabeth Simons Ozella. "We've been looking forward to being able to say what we feel. We know it's probably falling on deaf ears on her side. But anybody can do what she did isn't going to care about a few words that we say."

Betty Hutchinson survived Pressdee's attempt to kill her with excessive insulin but had a stroke and is unable to feed herself and speak. 

"She's still with us, she's just not quite the person she was prior to this," her niece Marissa Hiles said. 

Patrick Carney addressed the court on behalf of his brother-in-law Jack Rogers. Rogers survived being shot down in a chopper in Vietnam, and he got the Purple Heart. But he did not survive Heather Pressdee.

"The only justice we want is for it to happen to nobody else," he said. 

While she told her victims' families in court that she was sorry, Pressdee didn't want to talk about what she pleaded guilty to when KDKA-TV asked her. 

Wrongful death suits filed in connection with Pressdee's alleged killings

Multiple wrongful death lawsuits have been filed following the announcement of Pressdee's criminal charges being filed. 

Marianne Bower died at a Lower Burrell nursing home and in October, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, saying that the administrators of Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center knew about Pressdee's prior employment experience and how she was allegedly fired from several other similar businesses. 

Earlier this year, two more wrongful death lawsuits were filed against the Lower Burrell care home. 

A similar suit was filed against the Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Butler on behalf of the family of 43-year-old Nicholas Cymbol. 

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