Male nurse Jaroslav D. was convicted by Bratislava I District Court on May 22 of murdering a hospital patient in June 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, the TASR newswire wrote.
The young man, dubbed by the Slovak media the 'Angel of Death', was convicted of administering a lethal combination of drugs to a 63-year-old female patient at Kramáre Hospital in Bratislava. The judge found that he was well aware that the injection containing the drugs Ebrantil and Esmeron would result in heart failure. Testimony by witnesses and court-appointed experts proved that the man, aged 29 in June 2011, committed the act wilfully, albeit with the intention of easing the patient's pain.
Jaroslav D. himself initially confessed to the crime, but his lawyer said that he had made the confession under duress and with no advocate present. The defendant later said that he wanted to administer pain-relief to the patient but ended up giving her a lethal combination of medications by mistake. Shortly before the verdict, he also denied committing euthanasia. "I'm sorry," he said.
The court ruled that the long sentence imposed was based on the fact that the law grants extra legal protection to elderly people. Under the Criminal Code, those convicted of murder – a category that includes euthanasia – typically face 15-20 years in jail. Court-appointed experts in the fields of psychiatry and psychology agreed that the defendant suffered from a schizoid personality disorder.
One witness, who shared a prison cell with Jaroslav D. while in custody, said last year that he confessed to committing as many as 40-60 instances of euthanasia at Trencin Hospital and another 20 in Bratislava. This testimony was described as untrue by several other witnesses, however. Jaroslav D. has appealed against the ruling; his appeal will be heard at the Bratislava Regional Court.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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23. May 2013 at 14:00