Donald Harvey is one of America’s most prolific serial killers
People were thrown into oblivion about his preying tactics on hospital patients and considered him diligent and competent at his work. Behind the scene, he was a mercy killer; Harvey claimed to have eased the pain of patients by stiffening them with pillows. Soon, he became more than just an Angel of Death, but a serial killer.
Harvey was born in Butler County, Ohio, in 1952. At age 18, he dropped out of high school and started working in Marymount Hospital in London, KY a short distance from where his family lived, several miles away from Cincinnati. He used many methods in killing his victims such as suffocation, insulin, cyanide and arsenic, amongst others.
Studies have found out that serial killers, unlike ordinary people, tend to be selective in picking their victims. Ted Bundy, the most debated serial killer of all time, was known for preying on college women, while Donald Harvey on the other hand, preyed on elderly patients.
The first incidence of his murderous act happened in 1970, after Logan Evans, an elderly patient, smeared feces on him whom he eventually killed by smothering with a pillow. Harvey insisted that his motive behind his killings were purely out of empathy for those suffering from terminal illness.
At a time, he left the Hospital for the United State Airforce where he served for a few months and later returned back to the hospitals in 1975. Around the time he worked at the Veteran Administration Hospital for a period of ten years, he had killed about 15 innocent patients.
With his gentle ways and cheerful smile, he would make jokes about killing people and for a while, get away with the killings. Harvey did not limit his victims to helpless hospital patients, when he suspected that his girlfriend was jilting him and having an affair with his roommate, Carl Hoeweler, he poisoned Hoeweler’s food with arsenic. Among those he also killed were Hoeweler’s father, two of his neighbors, and many others.
In 1987, he was convicted of 24 murders and was sentenced to three concurrent terms of life in prison. That Noveember, Harvey pled guilty in Laurel County, Kentucky circuit court to killing nine patients at Marymount in the 1970s. He was sentenced to life plus 20 years, to run concurrently with the Ohio sentence. Ultimately, Harvey pled guilty to 37 murders and confessed to killing as many as 50 people. He was incarcerated in Toledo Correctional Institution where he had been admitted in October 1987.
On March 28, 2017, Harvey was reported to have been severely beaten in his cell and died two days later. Results of investigations about Donald Harvey’s death showed that his inmate, James Elliott, was responsible and he was charged for aggravated murder and other related charges to the death of Harvey.
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