St. Louis Public Radio News
1:23 pm
Thu August 7, 2003

Charges Dropped Against Former Nurse

Columbia, MO – A prosecutor in Columbia has dropped murder charges against a St. Charles man who was accused of using a drug to kill ten patients.

Richard Williams was once a nurse at the Truman VA hospital. Authorities now say tests that led to the charges are flawed.

The 37-year-old Williams had been jailed since his arrest in July, 2002. Wednesday he was reunited with his wife and three-year-old son.

They traveled from Columbia to the family home in St. Charles, where Williams said he had no hint that he'd get his freedom. His trial was to have started in October.

Altogether, 41 patients died in 1992 under Williams' care at the hospital. All the deaths were deemed suspicious, but usable tissue samples from exhumations remained from just ten bodies.

The ten patients ranged in age from 58 to 85.