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‘She Was the Shadow of Death’: Nurse Gets Life Sentence For Killing 8 Patients with Insulin Overdoses

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Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press via AP

A Canadian nurse has been sentenced to life in prison for killing eight of her elderly patients, PEOPLE confirms. 

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 50, pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault. She admitted to injecting 14 patients with lethal doses of insulin between 2007 and 2016 in Ontario. Seven of the murders occurred in three long-term care facilities where Wettlaufer worked; an eighth murder occurred in a private home. 

On Monday, a judge sentenced her. She will not be eligible for parole for 25 years.

“I caused tremendous pain and suffering and death,” she told judge Bruce Thomas in court. “Sorry is much too small a word. I am extremely sorry.”

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But Thomas was unmoved. “It is a complete betrayal of trust when a caregiver does not prolong life, but terminates it,” Thomas said as he handed down the verdict. “She was not an angel of mercy; she was the shadow of death that passed over them on the night shift where she supervised.”

The high-profile serial murderer has frightened Canadians who have loved ones in long-term care homes.

“We worry now and are fearful that our family members are aging,” a friend of 96-year-old victim Mary Zurawinski told the CBC. “We had no chance to say goodbye.”

Zurawinski’s granddaughter, Debora Rivers added that the murder “fills us with hatred and rage,” and that she will struggle to forgive Wettlaufter. “She’s getting what she deserves,” Rivers said. “I was hoping for at least one consecutive [sentence] so there’d be no chance that she’d get out, but I don’t think she’ll ever get out.”