"You're the monster no one sees coming," a judge said in sentencing former nursing assistant Reta Mays
Reta Mays
Reta Mays
| Credit: West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority/AP/Shutterstock

The families of seven elderly men murdered by a former V.A. hospital nursing assistant who injected each with unprescribed insulin still don't know why she did it, but they do know she'll spend the rest of her life in prison for doing so.

"There are no words I can say that would offer the families any comfort," said the former nurse, Reta Mays, in a West Virginia courtroom where she was sentenced to seven life terms in prison, plus 20 years for assaulting an eighth victim in the same manner. "I can only say that I'm sorry for the pain I caused the families and my family."

"I don't ask anyone for forgiveness because I don't think I could forgive anyone for doing what I did," said Mays, who broke down in tears and couldn't continue her statement, reports the West Virginia Metro News radio network.

Mays pleaded guilty in July 2020 to seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with the intent to commit murder of an eighth person by injecting each with the lethal, unprescribed insulin at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, W. Va.

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"Several times your counsel has made the point that you shouldn't be considered a monster," Judge Thomas Kleeh told Mays at her sentencing. "Respectfully, I disagree with that. You're the worst kind. You're the monster no one sees coming."

He added: "You've made liars out of anyone who has told their kids monsters don't exist."

Prosecutors revealed a swift trail of death before Mays was suspected and transferred from patient care in June 2018, raising multiple questions about why her deeds were not detected sooner after the death of her first victim in July 2017.

In an extensive investigation that spanned two years and included more than 250 interviews and hundreds of pieces of evidence, authorities uncovered her chilling spree on the hospital's Ward 3A, where colleagues who noted the number of patients who died under Mays' watch had dubbed her the "Angel of Death."

Family members of the victims addressed Mays at her sentencing.

"He was a good man and an honest man, a good husband and a great dad. He was a good provider for our family," Robert Edge Jr. said in a videotaped statement describing his dad, U.S. Navy veteran Robert Edge, reports ABC News. "You have deprived nine grandkids and eight great grandkids of ever knowing that love. I do not forgive you for what you have done. I would punish you with my own hands if it would ever do any good."

George Shaw
George Shaw, at left, and wife Norma
| Credit: courtesy

Norma Shaw, who had her first date with her future husband of 58 years, decorated Air Force veteran Robert Shaw, on Valentine's Day 1959, shared three children, nine grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren with him.

"I don't know why Reta did what she did. I don't know if we'll ever know," she said, reports USA Today. "But she took my life away from me."