Jury selection begins for former Lufkin nurse accused of killing 5 patients with bleach

Kimberly Saenz mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Kimberly Saenz mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Clyde Herrington, Angelina County District Attorney
Clyde Herrington, Angelina County District Attorney

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - What is expected to be a month-long jury selection for a former kidney dialysis nurse accused of killing five patients by injecting them with bleach began Monday in an Angelina County courtroom.

Kimberly Clark Saenz, 38, of Pollok, is charged with capital murder and five counts of aggravated assault, stemming from a 2008 case in which five people died and five were severely injured at the Lufkin Davita dialysis clinic. Investigators suspect Saenz injected the patients with bleach while they were receiving treatments.

The Angelina County District Attorney's Office is pursuing the death penalty for Saenz.

Ryan Deaton serves as Saenz's defense attorney.

In Judge Barry Bryan's courtroom, potential jurors filled the benches, all taking turns lining up to see the judge, giving their reasons as to why they should be dismissed from the serving this trial.

Conflicts with work and having a young child were often the primary concerns of the potential jurors, should they be selected to serve on the jury.

Saenz looked on in the jury box while selection was underway. Along with her, were a family member and defense attorney Ryan Deaton's legal assistant.

One by one, several potential jurors were dismissed by Bryan, exiting a door that led them out into the hallway as they are not obligated to serve on Saenz's capital murder trial. But others were asked to return to their seat after a round of dismissals.

Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington started the jury service. He explained to the potential jurors why they were there and what exactly could they expect.

"I don't anticipate that I'll be asking alot of questions today," said Herrington, "but I will be asking questions that I want you to think about, today."

Herrington went on to say that the jury selection process is to see who can be able to do two things: follow the law and decide the case based on the evidence admitted in the courtroom.

He also told jurors that there are three things to avoid when making a decision for the case: avoid making a decision based on a personal or life experience, to keep special relationships with a witness or victim, or anyone else associated with the case, out of the courtroom and to ignore outside information.

Each prospective juror was given a questionnaire that will be reviewed by Judge Bryan and both councils.

Herrington told the jurors to be honest in the assessment.

"There aren't any right or wrong answers, as long as your answer is an honest one," said Herrington.

After each round of dismissals, the judge then met with Clyde Herrington and Deaton to go over details about the case.

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