Capital murder trial for former dialysis nurse continues today

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Lauren Callahan - bio | email
Posted by Kerri Compton - bio | email

The eighth day of a former Lufkin dialysis nurse's capital murder trial will start today in an Angelina County courthouse.

Kimberly Clark Saenz of Pollok is charged with capital murder and five counts of aggravated assault. She is accused of injecting bleach into the bloodstream of kidney dialysis patients at the DaVita Dialysis Clinic in Lufkin.

Saenz was arrested in 2008, following a long investigation into 5 deaths that happened at the DaVita Dialysis Clinic in Lufkin in April 2008.

Five other patients were also seriously injured.

Investigators believe Saenz injected bleach into at least 10 patients' bloodstream while they were receiving dialysis.

Carolyn Risinger had been receiving dialysis treatments for years, so she knew when something didn't feel right.

"It started out with a pressure on my chest it felt like somebody was pushing on me and then my stomach started a severe hurt," Risinger said in April 2009.

At the time, she said what was believed to be bleach left her drifting in and out of consciousness.

"It turned into a nightmare," she said. "And, so many had died, I thought well, this is my turn."

But Risinger wasn't sure if Saenz was solely to blame for the deaths of 5 DaVita patients..

"The only time I had her, she tried to help me," she said.

Former patients of Kim Saenz were first on the stand last week. An elderly woman said she watched the former nurse fidget as she filled a needle with bleach and another patient recalled how she was taken away from the clinic on a stretcher following her treatment.

Several DaVita employees also testified last week. One reported that Saenz didn't report anything when a patient's dialysis machine started going off.

Another DaVita employee told the jury that Saenz didn't respond when he called for her help as a patient started having a reaction to treatment. And another witness said she heard Saenz talking about drawing bleach with syringes to clean dialysis machines, a practice that was not allowed at the clinic.

One of Kimberly Saenz's former coworkers testified that Saenz tearfully said she did not kill those people.

The state continues its case this week. Prosecutors plan to continue to call to the stand law enforcement officials and nephrologists -- doctors who treat kidney conditions and abnormalities and are familiar with treatments, such as dialysis.

Saenz pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2009. The state is pursuing the death penalty in the case.

The trial is expected to continue throughout the month.

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All rights reserved.