Judge Dismisses 11 Charges Against William Husel
A Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge on Thursday dismissed 11 of the 25 original charges filed against former Mount Carmel doctor William Husel, leaving 14 charges. Husel is accused of killing 25 intensive-care patients at Mount Carmel West Hospital by prescribing them too much of the opioid fentanyl.
Judge Michael J. Holbrook took statements in his chambers Thursday in-person and via electronic means from the people representing victims identified by the prosecutors in the case before rendering a decision on the motion filed by assistant county prosecutor David Zeyen.
The judge took the statements privately, with just a court reporter present, choosing not to allow those statements in public after concerns were raised by the attorneys that their words may taint a jury pool.
Prosecutors did not object to keeping the hearing private. "Pretrial publicity" can negatively impact a trial, Zeyen said.
"We are literally on the cusp of trial. We would request these statements are made (privately)," said defense attorney Diane Menashe.
The purpose of the Marsy hearing is to ensure the victims are represented, Holbrook said before asking the prosecutors to ensure the subjects were comfortable with the procedure.
"I want to try to be fair, but quite frankly, the Marsy hearing is about these folks," Holbrook said, referring to those representing those who lost a loved one.
Victims are granted the chance to speak in these circumstances under the victim's rights amendment to the Ohio Constitution known as Marsy's Law, which Ohio voters approved in 2017.
Husel appeared via video for the hearing in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
Zeyen declined to comment on why his office requested the charges be dismissed, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing case.