Suspicious VA deaths could reach 21; more lawsuits and settlements filed

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It turns out there may be as many as 21 military veterans who were deliberately killed by a former employee of the Louis A. Johnson VA medical center in Harrison County.

46- year-old Reta Mays, an unlicensed nurse’s aid, has already plead guilty in eight of those deaths. But an attorney for many of the victims families is now trying get records of Reta Mays’ work schedule to she if she cared for these other veterans who died suspiciously.

“That will allow me to see whether Reta Mays was on-duty when something bad happened to these veterans. And that would go a long way towards helping us answer questions,” said Tony O’Dell, Attorney for VA Victims.

So far six families have settled out of court, dividing nearly 5-million dollars in damages for negligence and wrongful death. Reta Mays admitted injecting the victims with a fatal dose of insulin, even though many were not diabetic.

“So the six families that have settled, the five that I represent, they are all very pleased that the case has resolved. They won’t have to go through depositions. They won’t have to go through a trial. So they are very happy about that,” said attorney Tony O’Dell.

More lawsuits are pending, including a claim filed Friday by the family of veteran Charles Dean. Hospital records indicate Reta Mays was with him when he died. Mays, a military veteran herself, may tell the court that she was motivated by PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“At the end of he day, there’s lots of people with PTSD. Lots of veterans come back with PTSD and they’re not running around killing people. So, I don’t think it’s a very good excuse,” said O’Dell.

The Inspector General of the Veterans Administration conducted an internal investigation, but has yet to release that report to Congress.

“While Reta Mays may be responsible for as many as 21 deaths of U.S. military veterans, it is unlikely she will face any further criminal charges. But there are likely to be more civil lawsuits seeking damages for negligence and wrongful death,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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