Defense attacks inconsistencies during bleaching murder trial - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Defense attacks inconsistencies during bleaching murder trial

Kimberly Saenz. Source: Angelina County Jail. Kimberly Saenz. Source: Angelina County Jail.

Day nine of the trial of a former dialysis nurse charged with capital murder began with a technician explaining how bleach is used in the center.

May Williams said she worked for a dialysis center in Marshall as a patient care technician for about four years. She testified that she later became a bio-med technician. According to the witness, that dialysis center later took on the title of DaVita Dialysis.

Kimberly Clark Saenz, 38, of Pollok, is charged with capital murder and five counts of aggravated assault. She allegedly injected bleach into the bloodstream of kidney dialysis patients.

District Attorney Clyde Herrington asked Williams to briefly explain her job description.

"I love dialysis. It's my passion," said Williams.

She says she now works for Pinecrest Dialysis in Marshall.

Herrington then used a chart, which demonstrated blood flow through saline band blood lines. Williams identified to the jury what each process was in the picture.

The witness said her supervisor sent her to Lufkin because of the large amount of incidents that were taking place at the clinic. Williams testified that she was at the Lufkin DaVita on April 28, 2008. She said the center was closed from April 28 to May 3, 2008.

During the time the center was closed, Williams testified that no water was tested. However, test results revealed normal findings when the water was tested on May 3.

"We didn't find any that was elevated," said Williams.

Williams testified she drew cultures on the dialysis machines and water on April 28 at the Lufkin clinic. Williams also said she was present when two employees tested some syringes that were brought to where she was in the re-use room in two sharps containers, which came back positive for bleach content.

"We just kind of looked at one another. And, in my personal opinion, I don't know why bleach was in the syringe," said Williams.

Herrington questioned the witness about where sharps containers are located in the facility.

"One is sitting by every dialysis machine," said Williams. "They keep some in the lab and they keep some in the medication room."

Herrington then questioned the witness about the layout of the clinic. He then turned to ask about the clinic's cleaning processes. The witness testified to the dialysis clinic cleaning each machine with bleach.

"Once a week," said Williams.

For DaVita Lufkin, Williams said this happened every Thursday. When the machines are cleaning, the witness says a patient cannot be hooked up to the machine and no other processes can occur.

Williams also testified that she was not very familiar with Saenz.

Saenz's attorney, Ryan Deaton, challenged some of William's testimony, saying that in her police interview, she only claimed one employee tested the syringes that were found positive with bleach.

Following a brief recess, both councils met with Judge Barry Bryan over concerns that the defense had regarding the witness's testimony.

"I believe every witness has changed their testimony in some form or fashion and we've tried to catch them as much as we can. This just can't go on anymore," said Deaton.

Judge Barry Bryan pointed out to Deaton that testimony could seem different depending on the way questions are asked. He also said if testimony has changed, it would be up to the defense to show that to the jury.

"This has been a pattern and it's been going on the whole trial," said Deaton.

Deaton said the witness clearly recalled where she tested the needles and where she put them, but he found it odd that she could not remember who was present.

"You would say your memory in 2008 is better than it is today, correct?" said Deaton.

"Yes," said Williams.

The witness testified that two needles tested positive for bleach. She answered questions about where she tested and placed the needles.

"The ones y'all tested, one ended out on the floor, because you took it there, right?" said Deaton.

"I don't remember," said Williams.

"Look at your statement," said Deaton. He was referencing the police statement the witness gave to police.

"I know what my statement was but I don't remember," said Williams.

Deaton then asked the witness again if she did not remember where she placed the sharps containers.

"I said the fourth machine," replied Williams.

Deaton referenced Williams' police interview and played it so Williams could remember what she told Lufkin Police in April 2008. Deaton pointed out that Williams was very particular to the placement of sharps containers when she spoke to police.

"If a machine is being used, there should be a sharps container, correct?" said Deaton.

"Yes," said Williams.

"Was there a sharps container there that day?" said Deaton.

"I don't remember," said Williams.

The defense asked the witness to show jurors on a chart of the facility's layout where she put the sharps container that she testified to putting back out on the clinic floor. Williams replied she did not remember.

Deaton asked the witness if any of the DaVita teammates saw her place the sharps container by the machine. The witness said she did not know. Deaton then pointed out that the area where the sharps container was put was the area where Saenz was working and by dialysis patient Marva Rhone. He also asked why the patient put out one sharps container and left the other in the re-use room. Williams said she just saw the other container in the re-use room. She did not leave it there.

"I don't remember carrying them to the re-use room after we got through carrying them," said Williams.

Herrington asked Williams to tell the jury what her exact actions were when she placed sharps containers out on the clinic floor.

"I carried two clean ones back to replace the ones they had taken from the floor," said Williams.

Deaton challenged that testimony, pointing out that Williams never said anything about getting new containers.

"Back in 2008, did you ever tell police officers that you got new containers from the back?" said Deaton.

"I don't really remember. I really don't," said Williams.

Deaton asked the witness if she'd read her police transcript the night before. She said she did. Deaton then said she should be able to recall her answers. The witness responded that she did not read the transcript word-for-word.

Deaton also pointed out that Williams just recently got rehired at DaVita as a PCT, which is an entry level job. Williams said that was her first job title when she originally worked for the company.

Herrington pointed out that the fact that the containers were new was never brought up because the witness was never asked about whether they were new before.

The state then called Sgt. Stephen Abbott of the Lufkin Police Department back to the stand. Abbott has previously testified in this trial.

Abbott testified to collecting blood samples during investigation. He also said he waited to start interviewing witnesses until he decided who he needed to talk to.

"The first day I interviewed employees was May 6, 2008," said Abbott.

Herrington used a picture of the clinic's layout for Abbott to identify each area. Abbott gave specific measurements of bloodlines, counter height, chair widths, and various distances he measured in the clinic.

Herrington also asked Abbott to identify where a victim's chair was located in the clinic. Abbott also explained evidence he collected on where syringes and sharps containers were found in his investigation.

Deaton asked the witness about May Williams' testimony of where she placed the sharps container after testing the contents. Deaton said that Williams was very specific in where she described where she put the container.

"No she didn't that was the issue," said Abbott.

Deaton described the location of where he says Williams said in her police interview that she placed the container.

"Once again, I couldn't understand what she was trying to tell me," said Abbott.

The counsels then discussed the introduction of evidence in the case. Three search warrants were issued to look into computers, connected with the case. Deaton says reports show these computers are being held at the Lufkin Police Station. These warrants were called upon to be presented to the court.

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