Former nurse gets 360 years for patient murders

Monday, November 15th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BRAZIL, Ind. (AP) -- A judge today sentenced former nurse Orville Lynn Mayors to 360 years in prison for killing six elderly patients under his care with lethal injections. Judge Ernest Yelton condemned Majors for the diabolical nature of the crime, committed in a hospital where the six victims had gone for treatment of various illnesses.

"It is the judgment of this court that the maximum penalty is the minimally reasonable sentence in this case," Yelton said, staring at Majors. He gave him six 60-year sentences, to be served consecutively. "At long last, may the souls of Mary Ann Alderson, Dorothea Dixon, Luella Hopkins, Margaret Hornick, Freddie Dale Wilson, Derek Maxwell and Cecil Smith rest in peace," Yelton said, concluding the sentencing hearing that had lasted less than an hour.

Mayors, 38, was convicted Oct. 17 of killing six patients -- all those mentioned by the judge except Smith -- while they were patients at Vermillion County Hospital in Clinton in the mid 1990s. Jurors could not reach a decision in the case of Smith, which ended in a mistrial. Majors sat a few feet from the witness stand where three of the victims' relatives made emotional pleas for the longest possible sentence.

"Mr. Majors, if you don't want the fruit of sin, then stay out of the devil's orchard," said Maxwell's wife, Kathryn. Defense attorney Carolyn Rader offered no evidence that might have lessened the sentence, saying she did not believe it would make a difference. She left immediately after the hearing without speaking to reporters.

Majors still maintains his innocence and his lawyers are appealing the verdict.

The patients died over a 13-month span from 1993 into 1995. Majors had contended they died of the ailments that put them in the hospital. Prosecutors said the deaths were consistent with injections of potassium chloride, epinephrine or both. Police found containers of those drugs at Majors' house and in his van.

With six murder convictions to his name, Majors will be the most prolific killer in the state's prison system.