TORONTO – A former nurse pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder in the deaths of eight nursing home residents in one of the worst serial-killer cases in Canadian history.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer also pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
The 49-year-old, who appeared in a Woodstock, Ontario, courtroom, admitted to killing eight seniors and hurting six others, acknowledging under questioning from the judge that she injected all 14 people with insulin for no medical reason. Wettlaufer said in court that she acted in part because she felt angry with her career and her life's responsibilities.
All the incidents occurred between 2007 and 2014 in three Ontario long-term care facilities where Wettlaufer worked as a registered nurse and at a private home. Many of her victims had with dementia. The police investigation began in September after Toronto police became aware of information she had given to a psychiatric hospital that caused them concern.
Emotional family and friends of her victims packed the courtroom as prosecutors laid out the details of each case in an agreed statement of facts that included chilling revelations Wettlaufer made to police.
"Ms. Wettlaufer got that 'red surging feeling' — and God telling her, 'This is the one,'" the prosecution told the court.
In many cases, a growing rage over her job and her life built up until Wettlaufer felt an "urge to kill," prosecutors said. She said the feeling would only abate after she overdosed her victims.
The court heard that Wettlaufer was not intoxicated on drugs or alcohol when she killed or tried to kill.
In one case, Wettlaufer injected James Silcox, an 84-year-old man with diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, with insulin the night of Aug. 11. 2007. According to the statement of facts, she told police, "It was his time to go because of the way he acted." Afterward, she said, she felt "like a pressure had been relieved from me, like pressure had been relieved from my emotions."
Some relatives of victims broke down during the hearing.
Andrea Silcox said before the court session that she was worried about what she would discover about her father's last moments.
"I will forgive her, I have to forgive her ... my father would want that," she said. "Forget? I'll never forget what happened."