German nurse accused of killing 100 patients faces verdict
A verdict is expected in the case of a former nurse charged with 100 counts of murder on allegations he killed patients by putting them into cardiac arrest because he liked the feeling of being able to resuscitate them.
The 42-year-old Niels Hoegel faces possible life in prison if convicted Thursday of the killings at two hospitals in northwestern Germany from 1999 to 2005.
Prosecutors are asking the court in Oldenburg to recognize the "particular seriousness of the crimes" to ensure he serves beyond the standard 15-year term.
During the seven-month trial, Hoegel admitted to 43 of the killings, disputed five, and said he couldn't remember the other 52.
Hoegel has already spent a decade in prison following a previous life sentence he received for six other murders.
In a closing statement Wednesday, Hoegel expressed regret, saying he realized how much pain and suffering he'd caused with his "terrible deeds."
The exhumation and autopsy of more than 130 bodies were necessary to build the case for the prosecution.
Police suspect that Hoegel's final death toll may be more than 200.
But the court was unable to say for sure because of gaps in Hoegel's memory and many likely victims were cremated before autopsies could be performed.
Judge Sebastian Buehrmann of the regional court in the northern city of Oldenburg said the number of deaths at Hoegel's hands "surpasses human imagination."
(Cover: Former nurse Niels Hoegel accused of killing more than 100 patients in his care, arrives at court for his verdict in Oldenburg, northern Germany, June 6, 2019. /VCG Photo)