TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – The third day of the trial of a former East Texas nurse accused of killing patients during his time working at a Tyler heart hospital got underway Thursday.
The jury watched security camera video showing William Davis enter and exit a patient’s room, just minutes before the patient’s condition began to quickly decline.
Cardiovascular ICU nurse at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Wendy Stone says 58-year-old Joseph Kalina was recovering normally following his heart surgery. Security camera video from that day shows what happened next.
Just after one in the morning on January 25, 2018, Stone says nurse Ben Rasberry is seen walking into Kalina’s room to check on him. Rasberry leaves shortly after.
Moments later, William Davis, known to his co-workers as “Will,” is seen appearing to take a drink as he heads in the direction of Kalina’s room.
Davis walks in that room at 1:16 a.m. and is gone less than a minute later.
He heads down the hall where Stone says Davis is seen looking at monitors showing the conditions of the patients on the floor.
Stone says it’s around this time Kalina’s condition begins to deteriorate. Other nurses are seen entering Kalina’s room.
As more nurses are called to help, Stone says William Davis continues to watch from down the hall, not helping his fellow nurses.
Then at 1:25 a.m., the video shows Davis walking to Kalina’s room and standing in the doorway, watching as several nurses try to help Kalina.
Stone says Davis did not tell her that he had been in Kalina’s room moments before he began crashing.
“You do not step in front of another ICU nurse and intervene with their patient without notifying them. They are ultimately responsible for that patient, so we need to know everything that happened,” Stone said.
Also testifying today, Bexar County Medical Examiner Dr. Jennifer Rulon, who was present for Kalina’s autopsy.
“The cause of death for Mr. Kalina was acute bronchopneumonia complicating these multiple strokes. The manner of death, or the circumstances were not clear. Unfortunately, the autopsy did not give any new information as far as what actually caused these strokes. So the manner of death in this case is undetermined,” Rulon said.
Davis was previously charged with aggravated assault for the injuries Kalina sustained, but in April 2021, seven months after Kalina died, that charge was upgraded to capital murder.
2:03 p.m. – Dr. Jennifer Rulon, the Bexar County Medical Examiner, takes the stand.
Rulon discussed the difference between cause of death and manner of death. Dr. Rulon did Kalina’s autopsy. He was a resident of Bexar County at the time of his death. Kalina was 60 when he died.
The jury began looking at autopsy photos of Kalina. Internal examination of Kalina found his brain was shrunken. Evidence of old strokes could be seen. Kalina’s manner of death is undetermined.
The next witness was called. James McCoy, former director of pharmacy at CHRISTUS.
Trial adjourned for the day around 2:15 p.m. It will resume Friday at 10:30 a.m.
11:58 a.m. – The defense begins questioning Wendy Stone.
Stone said patients in the CVICU are often very sick. She said she met with Tyler PD at CHRISTUS’S legal office a few weeks after Kalina’s death. She said nurses never wanted to be associated with bad outcomes.
The defense began going over security camera video with Stone.
10:24 a.m. – Stone said she expected Davis to respond to Kalina’s declining condition. Davis is seen on camera watching patient monitors down the hallway that shows a patient’s vitals. Video shows Davis looking down the hallway as nurses respond to Kalina’s room.
After looking at the patient monitors for several seconds, Davis heads down the hallway to Kalina’s room. Davis stands in the doorway of Kalina’s room and watches as doctors work to improve Kalina’s condition.
Stone said Davis did not say to the nurses that he had just come from Kalina’s room.
At 1:59 am, Davis and the other nurses step out of Kalina’s room. Stone says Davis still had not told them he had been in Kalina’s room.
9:50 a.m. – Wendy Stone said Ben Rasberry was a “meticulous” nurse. He didn’t like anyone else messing with his patients or hindering his job.
The prosecution began showing security camera footage. The first video shown is from around 1 a.m. on Jan. 25, 2018. It shows Ben Rasberry going in and out of Joseph Kalina’s room. The video then shows William Davis enter Kalina’s room at 1:16 a.m. The video shows Davis was in the room less than a minute before leaving.
At 1:21 am, a nurse training with Ben Rasberry noticed a problem and asked Ben for help with Kalina. At 1:23 am, charge nurse Wendy Stone calls for more help for Kalina. At 1:25 am, video shows Davis arrive back at Kalina’s room as several nurses work to improve Kalina’s failing condition.
Day three of the trial for a former East Texas nurse accused of killing patients began in Thursday.
William Davis, 37, of Hallsville, is accused of injecting air into the arterial lines of patients at a Tyler heart hospital, killing at least two people and injuring several others. Davis was arrested in April 2018. At the time, he was a registered nurse at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler.
Witness Robert Graham took the stand and was questioned by the prosecution. At the time, he was a regional security officer at CHRISTUS.
Graham said the CVICU (cardiovascular intensive care unit, where Davis worked) upgraded their security camera system and installed additional security cameras at the beginning of 2018.
The defense questioned Graham who said the cameras only recorded when motion was detected.
The next witness, Wendy Stone, is a CVICU nurse at CHRISTUS. She said nurses check extensively to make sure air is not entered into a patient’s arterial line. She said she was working the night Joseph Kalina crashed (Jan. 25, 2018). Ben Rasberry called out to Wendy for help when they noticed Kalina’s heart rate was low.
Written by Julian Esparza and KLTV Digital Media Staff