Kimberly Clark Sanez

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Banned
Kimberly Clark Sanez




Also known as Kimberly Clark Fowler

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Nurse - Poisoner - Bleach killings
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: January-April 2008
Date of arrest: April 1, 2009
Date of birth: 1974
Victims profile: Clara Strange / Thelma Metcalf / Garlin Kelley / Cora Bryant / Opal Few (kidney dialysis patients)
Method of murder: Poisoning (by injecting their bloodstreams with bleach)
Location: Lufkin, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole on April 2, 2012



Kimberly Clark Saenz, also known as Kimberly Clark Fowler, is a convicted serial killer.

Background

In 2008, at the time of the murders, Kimberly Clark Saenz was a 34-year old licensed practical nurse. Saenz was married with two young children. Saenz suffered from substance dependence and used stolen prescription medication. Saenz had been fired at least four-times from health care jobs and placed disinformation on an application for employment and sought a health care job in violation of the terms of her bail.

Texas District Court

On March 31, 2012, in Texas District Court Kimberly Clark Saenz a nurse was found guilty of the 2008 murders of five kidney dialysis patients and injuring five other patients. On April 2, 2012, the Angelina County jury sentenced Saenz to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole and three 20-year sentences for aggravated assault.

The five murder victims were: Clara Strange, Thelma Metcalf, Garlin Kelley, Cora Bryant and Opal Few.

The two eyewitness accounts of Linda Hall and Leraline Hamilton confirmed that on April 28, 2008, Saenz drew sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach, into syringes and injected the substance into two patients dialysis lines at the dialysis clinic owned by DaVita in Lufkin, Texas.

The Food and Drug Administration prepared a document confirming that samples linked to some victims tested positive for bleach while others showed bleach "may have been present at one time."

Lufkin law enforcement officers testified at the trial that they arrested Saenz for public intoxication and criminal trespass. These incidents related to the domestic disturbances with her husband, Mark Kevin Saenz. The husband had filed for divorce and had obtained a restraining order against Saenz in June 2007, just one year before the clinic deaths and illnesses.

The trial records reflected that prior to working at DaVita, Saenz was fired from Woodland Heights hospital for stealing Demerol, which was found in her handbag. Saenz was fired from DaVita in April 2008 after the numerous deaths at the clinic. Saenz nursing licence eventually was suspended. Saenz then applied to work as a receptionist in a Lufkin medical office and lied on her job application about previous employment.

At the victim impact statement portion of the trial the daughter of victim Thelma Metcalf told Saenz, “You are nothing more than a psychopathic serial killer. I hope you burn in hell”.

The prosecutor, Clyde Herrington, believed there were more victims than just the ten indicted cases, based on the research of the epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The epidemiologist statistically connected Saenz to other adverse health events to patients. Lufkin Police detectives could only obtain medical waste from two weeks prior to April 28, 2008, so there was inadequate evidence to raise further indictments against Saenz in the other incidents.

The day Kimberly Saenz got caught

By Jessica Cooley - The Lufkin News

June 5, 2012

She got to work around 4:30 a.m., her deadly secret only hours from being discovered.

It was April 28, 2008. Kimberly Saenz arrived at the DaVita Dialysis clinic in Lufkin wearing ponytails and scrubs. Her supervisor, Amy Clinton, told her she would be working as a patient care technician that day.

Clinton, a DaVita head honcho brought in from Houston following two deaths at the clinic three weeks earlier, said the news distressed Saenz, as she was accustomed to being a medication nurse. In her usual role, she had free rein of the facility, going from patient to patient to “push” medication from a syringe, sometimes needle-tipped, into dialysis lines and ports.

According to Clinton, Saenz became visibly upset, wiping tears from her eyes as she reluctantly got ready to do a job she felt was beneath her — monitoring patients, cleaning up vomit and wiping up blood, as it commonly spilled during dialysis.

Around 6 a.m., patients Marva Rhone and Carolyn Risinger entered the facility. For people with failed kidneys, spending hours attached to a dialysis machine three times a week can mean the difference between life and death.

Although everyone at the clinic was on high alert with the recent string of deaths, it seemed to a be a day like any other until two patients said they saw something disturbing.

Sitting no more than 40 feet from Rhone and Risinger, patients Lurlene Hamilton and Linda Hall said they watched Saenz squat down to place a jug of bleach on the floor. She then poured the bleach into her cleaning bucket and drew up 10 ccs of the caustic liquid into a syringe, according to their testimony.

Her actions bothered the women for two reasons — one, the floor isn’t sanitary, and two, Saenz seemed nervous. Hall and Hamilton said they then watched her inject bleach into ports on the dialysis lines of Rhone and Risinger.

Although neither of them went into cardiac arrest, testing would later reveal that Rhone’s dialysis line tested positive for bleach. Risinger’s line was not tested, as it had already been thrown away.

Being seen that day marked the end of Saenz’s reign of terror on the clinic. A little more than four years to the day, a jury found her guilty on a charge of capital murder, set to spend the rest of her life in prison without the chance of parole for killing at least two of the five murder victims named in an indictment. Five other people who did not die were listed as victims of aggravated assault.

Looking back at the trial, prosecutor Clyde Herrington said there was very little of the state’s evidence that the jury did not see. He said he believes there were more victims than just the 10 indicted cases, based on the research of a Centers for Disease Control epidemiologist. Using the dates of adverse occurrences dating to 2007 paired with the days Saenz worked, the epidemiologist statistically connected her to the events more than any other DaVita employee. Because Lufkin Police detectives were only able to obtain medical waste from two weeks prior to April 28, Herrington could not obtain enough evidence to indict Saenz in the other incidents.

“The only days there were deaths in April, she was there,” Herrington said. “Dialysis patients are sick, but every source of information we can find says it is very unusual for patients to die during dialysis treatment.”

While the state doesn’t have to prove motive for a conviction, Herrington said they did talk with a registered nurse who studied more than 100 health care killers. According to her research, only 50 percent of health care killers that go to trial are convicted. The most common method used by a health care killer is injecting a patient with some type of medication or substance.

“Criminal behavior is something we’ve been trying to understand since Cain killed Abel,” Herrington said. “Only when the health care killer confesses do we know motive.”

As to Saenz’s specific motive, Herrington said he believes at the time she was a troubled woman with marital problems who lashed out because of job dissatisfaction. Before working at DaVita, he said, Saenz was fired from Woodland Heights Medical Center for stealing Demerol, a powerful narcotic painkiller.

“From talking to some of the folks who worked with her, it sounded like her husband didn’t want her to quit (DaVita),” Herrington said. “She was depressed. She was frustrated, and I think she took those frustrations out on the patients.”

Maintaining his client’s innocence, defense attorney Ryan Deaton said there is a lot of information he wishes the jury had heard. He said he intends to be involved with Saenz’s appeal. She appeared in court Wednesday to start the process.

“Hopefully she’ll get a new trial,” Deaton said.

Before her trial began, Deaton fought for the jury to have access to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report from May 2008 that was heavily critical of DaVita’s practices. The report was ruled inadmissible by state District Judge Barry Bryan.

According to the report, from Dec. 1, 2007, to April 28, 2008, the facility had 19 deaths compared to 25 for 2007. Those numbers put the facility at a mortality rate 7 percent above the state average.

The facility was also not keeping proper records of adverse occurrences, the report stated. From Sept. 1, 2007, to April 26, 2008, there were a total of 102 DaVita patients transported by ambulance to local hospitals during or immediately following dialysis. Of those, 68 did not have a complete adverse occurrence report.

The report went on to state that based on record review and nursing staff interview, the facility “did not demonstrate competence in monitoring patients during treatment alerting nurses or physicians of changes to a patient’s condition and following the physician’s orders for the dialysis treatment.”

DaVita spokesman Vince Hancock said the company’s actions in April 2008 did not kill any Lufkin patients, as evidenced by the jury’s decision.

“We hope that healing can start to occur for families of victims and for our teammates who also have been victimized by the murderous acts of Kim Saenz,” Hancock said.

While Saenz’s family has maintained their silence since the sentencing, her husband said they are planning a press conference in the near future.

Saenz remains in the Angelina County Jail pending prison transport.

Jury hands down life sentence for Kim Saenz

By Alexis Spears - KSLA.com

April 3, 2012

An Angelina County jury has handed down a life sentence for a former dialysis nurse who killed at least two patients by injecting their bloodstreams with bleach.

The life sentence for capital murder means Kimberly Clark Saenz, 38, will never be eligible for parole.

The jury also sentenced Saenz to three 20-year sentences on three counts of aggravated assault.

The jury found Saenz guilty Friday of capital murder and three counts of aggravated assault.

In Monday's sentencing phase of the trial, District Attorney Clyde Herrington called Bradley Baker, a Lufkin Police Officer for the past 13 years.

Baker told the jury that on April 29, 2008, around 8:30 p.m., he was called out to the home of Mark Kevin Saenz, Saenz's husband. They were having marital issues at the time.

"Ms. Saenz was banging on the door of the house," said Baker.

Upon arriving at the house, Baker said he issued a criminal trespass warrant against Saenz. He also noticed Saenz appeared to be intoxicated.

"Her eyes were glassy and she was having trouble answering questions," said Baker.

He said she admitted that she was taking Cymbalta, and she knew it could make her dizzy although she was driving that night. Baker then arrested Saenz, and she was fairly cooperative when she was arrested for public intoxication.

Herrington then called upon Lufkin Police Officer Sterling Glawson.

Glawson told jurors that he received a call about a disturbance in June 2007, which was a dispute between a husband and wife. When he arrived on the scene, Lawson said he was informed that the argument started at Saenz's home in Pollok. Mark Saenz left to go to his mother's boyfriend's home on Tulane Drive in Lufkin, and Saenz followed. Mark Saenz was injured, and Kim Saenz was arrested for assault family violence.

Herrington next called Sgt. Stephen Abbott of the Lufkin Police Department, who previously testified in the trial, to the stand.

Herrington presented a document to Abbott, which Abbott testified was an Emergency Magistrate's Protective Order, issued in June 2007. The prosecution also asked Abbott about another document, which he testified was an original petition for divorce, filed by Mark Saenz.

Records from Woodland Heights Medical Center revealed Saenz had taken and was using Demerol, which was located in her purse. The hospital threatened to suspend her medical license, which had not happened before April 2008.

The state then rested.

Defense attorney Steve Taylor called Vernon Dean Warren to the stand. He testified that he dated Mark Saenz's mother.

Taylor asked the witness about the night Saenz was banging on the door of his home. That night, he said he asked that a criminal trespass warning be issued.

"I was out of town and I received a call," said Warren.

Warren testified he has no ill feelings against Saenz, and that she is welcome to his home at anytime.

Peggy Wells took the stand next and testified she is a friend of Kim Saenz, knowing her for 33 years. Wells said she met Saenz in kindergarten.

Taylor asked Wells about Saenz not completing high school. Wells said Saenz dropped out her senior year.

"No," said Wells. "Because she had a child that summer, our junior summer."

Taylor asked the witness if he was afraid of Saenz after she got in trouble, following incidents at the DaVita Clinic.

"No," said Wells.

Wells also testified that she did not feel Saenz was a threat to her personally or her children.

Taylor called Wendy Bryan to the stand next, who testified she worked at Fleetwood Transportation. It was there at Fleetwood that the witness testified she met Kim Saenz. She said Saenz met her husband there as well. Bryan testified Saenz worked there for several years, and said Saenz was a good employee.

Taylor asked Wells about the allegations brought against Saenz in 2008. Wells said Saenz had a difficult time at that point, but her company would have provided her a job.

"I would have absolutely hired her. Absolutely, without a doubt," said Bryant.

The defense called upon Tonya Monlar, a past co-worker of Saenz at Fleetwood Transportation.

"She was a very hard worker, very thorough," said Monlar.

Monlar testified that she would keep in contact, when possible with Saenz, throughout her sentence.

"If I can visit, I'll visit. I'll write, and she's always in my prayers," said the witness.

Barbara Allen testified that she taught both Kim Saenz and her son. During Saenz's high school years, Allen recalls that Saenz played sports. Allen testified that she was Saenz's cheerleading coach. Saenz was also active in other sports.

"She played softball," said Allen.

The witness said she remembered when Saenz gave up her senior year of high school when she got pregnant and went through with having the baby.

During Allen's testimony, Saenz cried, as Allen complimented the "good" parenting job Saenz has done with her son.

Steve Taylor called Scott Bailey, an employee for Frito-Lay, to the stand.

Bailey testified that he asked Saenz's daughter to play softball on the same team as his daughter. He said Saenz was an active parent, "more active than most".

"Ms. Saenz was active at the practices. She was there," said Bailey.

Karen Schumaker, the elementary school principal of Central ISD for the past 11 years took the stand next. She recalled what she remembered of Saenz's parenting with her children. Schumaker testified that the daughter is now in the fifth grade at the elementary school in Central.

"When [he] was younger, he played baseball with my son. Kim was always there," said Schumaker.

Schumaker says she has been keeping an eye on the daughter at school to make sure the circumstances surrounding Saenz do not affect her.

"She's a great kid," said the witness.

Taylor called Kevin Poage, the pastor of Clawson Assembly of God to the stand as the next witness. Poage testified that Saenz is a member of his church, and he was aware of the allegations against her.

"We talked about this, and then you know we waited for this to come. We went ahead and proceeded as usual," said the witness.

Poage says he plans to continue supporting Saenz in any manner the church can.

Frank G. AuBuchon was called upon as the next witness. He said he retired from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Taylor questioned the witness about the rules of the criminal justice system. The defense asked the witness what life without parole means.

"It's a true life sentence," said AuBuchon. "Texas didn't have a true life sentence in 2005."

AuBuchon also described what title the offender sentenced to life holds and the type of housing the prisoners are be held in.

"These people will die in custody," said the witness.

Taylor had the witness go through the classifications of offenses committed by offenders in prison.

"You very quickly in prison the easiest way to do your time is to behave yourself. You get more privileges," said AuBuchon.

The defense asked the witness about the rules on receiving gifts in prison. AuBuchon said gifts are limited and inmates are not allowed to receive clothing.

"What type of things can a female offender receive in prison?" said Taylor.

"Letters and money," said AuBuchon. "And, the money doesn't go directly to the offender. It goes to their promissory account."

Taylor asked the witness what advice he would give any female going to prison for life without parole.

"Mind your own business. Don't tell anybody why you're there. Obey the rules," said AuBuchon.

Following AuBuchon's testimony, the defense rested, and the prosecution had no rebuttal.

Judge Barry Bryan then read the charge to the jury in order for them to deliberate in the punishment phase.

Taylor delivered his closing speech to jurors before they began deliberations. He reminded jurors that, by finding Saenz or anyone else guilty of capital murder, means they would never see them in society again. He said "they will come out in a box."

"You will never see them again in society. They belong in another society now, the prison society," said Taylor.

Taylor reminded jurors that Saenz walked by them to come into court each day and would frequently stop and stand outside of the courthouse talking with family. He says she's the same woman who "did not bury her head in the sand," knowing the charges against her. Taylor says she still supported her children.

The defense also pointed out that Saenz will not get out again, citing there is no way she can get out into society ever again.

"She's never getting out again. Society will not see her," said Taylor.

Taylor said Saenz is not a threat to society by being in the penitentiary.

"It's not a special place, just another corner of hell. And, she will be there the rest of her life," said Taylor.

Herrington pointed out that Saenz was found stealing Demerol at her job in 2005. Documents, he says, also revealed that Saenz administered Demerol to patients who were not in pain.

The prosecution also reminded jurors of the criminal history against Saenz involving conflict with her husband. And, he reminded jurors of what he believed Saenz did at the Lufkin DaVita Clinic in 2008.

"I'm sure that her family has suffered," said Herrington. However, he asked jurors not to forget about the victims in this case.

"They are innocent victims," said Herrington. "The only thing they did wrong was trust the defendant."

Herrington shared pictures with the jury, reminding jurors of the victims' incidents at the clinic.

The jury was then dismissed for deliberation.

Victim's family members were allowed to give impact statements following the sentencing. The daughter of Thelma Metcalf told Saenz "because of someone like you [Saenz]" her mother was no longer alive. She also said, "to have this outcome is satisfying."

Metcalf's daughter recalled it is four years to the date that her mother died.

An alternate juror says he was unhappy with the outcome of the whole trial.

"From the beginning to the end, I felt she was innocent. And, I still feel that way," said Brian Bowling.

Bowling wasn't one of the 12 people who found Saenz guilty and sentenced the former nurse To life in prison. But, as an alternate juror, Bowling sat in on all testimony in case he was needed. If he had been called to vote, he says he could have made a difference.

"I don't believe the state satisfied the burden of proof," said Bowling.

Prosecuting attorney Clyde Herrington says it was a job well done, underscored by the jury's verdict.

"I was scared that we would not be able to present the facts of this case in a manner that they were understandable by jury," said Herrington.

Family members like the daughter of victim opal few, are happy to move past this part of tragedy.

"I think the jury did a great job. I would not have wanted to be in their shoes, under any means. I'm just grateful that the guilty verdict was reached. Grateful that she won't be allowed the opportunity to do it again to some other family," said Linda Few.

"The sentencing was fair. She got what was do unto her. She's of age and she's held accountable for what she does," said the daughter of victim Cora Bryant, Angela Scott.

The Saenz family declined to comment on the sentence. However, Defense Attorney Steve Taylor says life in prison is a fair decision.

"We think the jury worked hard. They listened to 17 days of testimony. They sat there without opening their mouths. One day off, they came back and deliberated over 14 hours in 2 days," said Taylor.

After the punishment was read, Saenz returned to Angelina County Jail, while her legal team is already starting the appeals process.

Kimberly Saenz, ex-nurse convicted of bleach killings, sentenced to life in prison

CBSNews.com

April 2, 2012

(CBS/AP) LUFKIN, Texas- Kimberly Saenz, a former East Texas nurse who killed five kidney dialysis patients by injecting them with bleach, escaped the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison Monday.

A jury in Angelia County convicted the 38-year-old on Friday of killing five patients and deliberately injuring five others at a clinic run by Denver-based health care giant DaVita Inc.

Saenz was fired in April 2008 after a rash of illnesses and deaths at the clinic in Lufkin, about 125 miles northeast of Houston. Her lawyers argued Saenz wrongly took the blame for the clinic's sloppy procedures.

"She's never getting out no matter what you do," said Steve Taylor, Saenz's lawyer, in his closing remarks, urging jurors to choose a life sentence. "Society is protected. You will never see her again."

Taylor reminded jurors Saenz had been free during the trial. Prosecutors failed to show she would present a future danger for violence, one of the questions jurors must answer in deciding a death penalty.

Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington never specifically urged jurors to impose the death penalty but pointed out how Saenz was found with drugs stolen while she was working as a hospital nurse, and tried to fake a urine test that was required of her.

"I know you'll reach a verdict that's just and in accordance with the law," he said after showing them photos of some of the victims on a large screen in the courtroom.

Nurse facing the death penalty after being found guilty of killing five patients by injecting IV lines with BLEACH

DailyMail.co.uk

March 31, 2012

A nurse is facing the death penalty after she was found guilty of injecting dialysis tubes with bleach, killing five patients and injuring five more.

Kimberly Saenz, 38, was last night found guilty of capital murder in the deaths and aggravated assault in the injuries at the DaVita Dialysis clinic in Lufkin, Texas.

As her trial, which began on March 5, moves to the punishment phase, the mother-of-two will face either life imprisonment or the death penalty. Prosecutors had said they would seek the death penalty if she was convicted.

Saenz was caught after a top fire official wrote an anonymous letter pleading for state health department inspectors to visit a clinic because of numerous calls for paramedics.

The April 2008 letter said: 'In the last two weeks, we have transported 16 patients.This seems a little abnormal and disturbing to my med crews. Could these calls be investigated by you?'

Within days, surveyors arrived. By that time, emergency crews had been called 30 times that month, including seven for cardiac problems. Four people had died.

This was compared to just two calls during the previous 15 months, according to the Texas Department of Health Services.

A review of clinic records by an inspector found Saenz was on duty for 84 per cent of instances where patients suffered chest pain or cardiac arrest.

On April 28, 2008, two dialysis patients said they did not feel well and two others reported that they saw Saenz inject bleach into tubing used by patients Marva Rhone and Carolyn Risinger.

Saenz, who had held her entry-level position as a licensed vocational nurse for eight months, was sent home and fired the next day.

A year later, an indictment listed sodium hypochlorite, also known as bleach, as the 'deadly weapon' used by Saenz to kill five people, including Rhone and Risinger.

Saenz's lawyers previously said she had no motive to kill.

'Kimberly Saenz is a good nurse, a compassionate, a caring individual who assisted her patients and was well liked,' defense attorney T. Ryan Deaton said.

He argued that Saenz was being targeted by the clinic's owner for faulty procedures at the facility, including improper water purification, suggesting that officials at the clinic fabricated evidence against her.

Saenz didn't take the stand in her own defense. But in a recording played at trial, she could be heard testifying before a grand jury that she felt 'railroaded' by the clinic and 'would never inject bleach into a patient'.

Prosecutors described claims Saenz was being set up by her employer as 'absolutely ridiculous'.

They described her as a depressed and disgruntled employee who complained about specific patients, including some of those who died or were injured.

Saenz had sworn in an affidavit she had no previous felony record. But documents filed by Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington listed about a dozen instances of wrongdoing.

They included allegations Saenz overused prescription drugs, had substance abuse and addiction problems, was fired at least four times from health care jobs and put false information on an employment application, the AP reported.

Investigators examined blood tubing, IV bags and syringes used by the DaVita patients, who visited the clinic to have their blood filtered.

They testified that they found Internet searches on Saenz's computer about bleach poisoning in blood and whether bleach could be detected in dialysis lines.

Saenz told the grand jury she had been concerned about the patients' deaths and looked up bleach poisoning references to see 'if this was happening, what would be the side effects'.

She was charged with one capital murder count accusing her of killing as many as five patients, and with five counts of aggravated assault for the injuries to the five other patients.

On the capital murder count, jurors could have found her guilty of the lesser charges of murder or aggravated assault.




Kimberly Saenz



Kimberly Saenz



Kimberly Saenz



Kimberly Saenz



Kimberly Saenz




Kimberly Saenz (Joel Andrews/The Lufkin News)



Kimberly Saenz talks with her husband.




Surrounded by family and friends Kimberly Saenz, top right, leaves the Angelina County Courthouse
after the second day of her trial on capital murder charges.
(Joel Andrews/The Lufkin News)




Kimberly Saenz




Kimberly Saenz (Joel Andrews/The Lufkin News)




Convicted murderer Kimberly Saenz, left, talks with a friend in the Angelina County Courthouse.
(Joel Andrews/The Lufkin News)



Kimberly Saenz (Joel Andrews/The Lufkin News)


Victims


Carla Mott, daughter of murder victim Cora Bryant, hugs her nephew Torrance Agnew
after verdicts were read in the murder trial of Kimberly Saenz.



Thelma Metcalf



Garlin Kelley



Opal Few
 
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