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July 14, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-14

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VA nurses found guilty

(Continued from Page 1)
that occurred at the VA that
summer. Fifty - eight patients
stopped breathing, 11 of them
fatally. The women were con-,
victed of only six of the res-
piratory arrests.
"All we're concerned with at
time time and all the defend-
ants stand guilty of are those
events that were tried, and the
jury did determine guilt without
a reasonable doubt."
HE ADDED, however, "One
could conclude that all those
events were perpetrated by the
same individual or individuals."
rated by the same individual or
individuals."'
One defense attorney, Ann
Arbor lawyer Thomas O'Brien,
made statements just a few
minutes later, without Narciso
and Perez. O'Brien; who had
represented Narciso, said the
defense team was "shocked"

and "devastated" by the con-
victions.
"The only feeling I have at
this moment is that it is pos-
sible to try an fairly convict
innocent people in this country."
O'Brien bitterly chided the
verdict as unjust and called the
jurors unfair.
"I CAN'T believe the impact
on these two people," he said,
"on the thin and scantly evi-
dence that was presented that
any jury in their right minds
could convict them.
"It's beyond belief," he said.
O'Brien then told the crowded
pressroom "rest assured, we
plan to appeal."
Narciso and Perez are free on
$7,500 bond, and lawyers meet
today at 9 a.m. in the court-
room of federal judge Philip
Pratt to decide whether the
bond will be continued. Defense
attorneys say that they will also

file motions for a mistrial and
a directed verdict of acquittal.
JUDGE PRATT is expected to
set a date for sentencing at the
hearing tomorrow.
E a c h poisoning conviction
against the women carries a
maximum sentence of life im-
prisonment, and conspiracy car-
ries a maximusm five year pris-
on term. Although prosecutors
said they were undecided about
whether they would seek the
maximum sentences, federal
Prosecutor Richard Delonis said
Narciso and Perez will probably
serve out their terms at the Wo-
men's Maximum Security Pris-
on in Arlington, Virginia.
Ironically, the Virginia Fed-
eral Penitentary makes the
nurses' uniforms supplied to
Veteran's Administration hos-
pitals across the country.
Following the verdict the Phil-

lipine Nrses Association hastily
called an emergency meeting
yesterday afternoon, and at a
news conference board member
Ursula Somera declared the
nurses are still innocent and the
verdict was unjust.
"I am just shocked about the
results of the trial," Somera
said. She said she spoke for the
entire association when she said
"Us'registered nurses, we're not
going to take this kind of ver-
dict."
SOMERA, acting as spokes-
person for the nurses' group,
also said the convictions will
h a v e worldwide implications.
"This kind of verdict is going
to effect our international rela-
tions around the world," she
said.
Today's demonstration, So-
mera said, will be peaceful and
"strictly professional."
Also commenting on the con-
victions was PNA president Er-
linda Santos. In a Daily inter-

view, Santos said "It's really
disgisting. No one can accept
that *yne of verdict."
ALTHOUGH not making any
formal charges, Santos said
"Maybe the prosecutor and the
FBI talked to those jurors be-
fore."
Asked if she laid any of the
blame on the defense attorneys
who prematurely rested their
case after presenting only 18
witnesses, Santos said "Person-
ally I feel that they had rested
it prematurely but I feel they
had some valid reasons."
Santos said she can be confi-
dent that the nurses are totally
innocent, regardless of the ver-
dict. "I know my people, I know
the Filipinos. Either we are
mentally ill or we have to go
crazy before we can kill peo-
ple."
She said that she had lost
faith in the American system of
justice, remarking "They can
get anybody."

Locals react to verdict

(Continued from Page1)
VA STAFF leaving the hos-
pital were reluctant to talk with
media, however an Intensive
Care Unit (ICU) nurse did
speak.
"I am surprised they were
convicted, very surprised," she
said.
"It is so easy for anybody to
pat on a white coat and get into
the hospital - doctors, students,
All over campis persons ques-
tioned registered shock, sur-
prise and sadness over the ver-
dict. Many felt the evidence sup-
plied by the prosecutor wan in-
siffiaient to convict anyone.
t "I AM SICK about the whole
thing,' I. a u r e I Minott said.
"This is an example of the
American judicial system at its
best in terms of racism and
sexism."
I guess I am kind of sur-
prised. Is my own mnind I had
declared them innocent," grad
stdent Kay Long said.
"It would be interesting for
them to come up with an ex-
planation f o r It h e 'man-in-
green'," she said.
The mysteriotis"man in
green" has plagued the trial
since it began over three months
ago.
Christine Loesch testified at
the trial that an unidentified
"man - in - green" had entered
her son's room as she was leav-
ing to make a telephone call.
Moments later she learned her
son, William Loesch, had stop-
ped breathing.
"I think they were looking for
a scapegoat especially when one
woman had already confessed to
the murders," senior Wendy
Wenberg said.
She was referring to a former
nursing supervisor who had con-
fessed to the poisonings and
committed suicide. The prosecu-.
tion discounted the confession
because the woman had a his-
tory of psychiatric problems.
Wenberg added, "There are
going to be a lot of women be-
hind them-but how much power
do women and Filipinos have in
this country?"
Angie Sweet, a member of
the Feminists in Support of Ndr-
ciso and Perez, said they were
shocked and saddened by the
verdict.
"We think it is horrible that
their lives are ruined. In
America we are taught (a per-
sOn) is innocent until proven
Builty but all kinds of doubts
are brought up (by the verdict).
o motive, no personality prob-

lems, no concrete eye-witness
evidence. It is supposed to be
guilty beyond a shadow of
doubt," she said.
"Oh my God! I think it is un-
believable, I am really shocked.
From the beginning there hasn't
been a bit of evidence that has
convinced me they were guilty,"
Sally Lawler said.

She said she felt the most
logical explanation for the pois-
onings was pharmecuetical con-
tamination. The FBI had pur-
sued the possibility of contamin-
ation early in their investiga-
tions but discarded it later.
"They were scapegoats from
the higher-ups; they were con-
venient," Lawler said.

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