A nurse charged in the death of a Veterans Affairs Medical Center patient entered a not guilty plea Friday during an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Ky.
Maria K. Whitt, 32, of Mount Sterling, is charged with murder in the death of 90-year-old World War II veteran Jesse Lee Chain, who died of a morphine overdose Sept. 3, 2006.
In a hearing on Thursday, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General said at least two other patients died under suspicious circumstances while under Whitt's care at the VA hospital off Cooper Drive.
Senior Judge Karl S. Forester set a Dec. 7 trial date.
Patrick Nash, Whitt's attorney, said he anticipates calling expert witnesses and said he might be asking that the trial date be changed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger W. West said the trial would take eight to 10 days.
Whitt was indicted by a grand jury Oct. 2. She was arrested Tuesday and taken to the Grayson County Detention Center. Nash said Whitt is "very upset and worried."
"I think this case is going to involve a lot of expert testimony," he said. He also said he had questions about other health care workers who had been caring for Chain at the time of his death.Read this storyo on Kentucky.com