Western Pennsylvania Nurse Sentenced to Consecutive Life Sentences After Pleading Guilty to Killing and Attempting to Kill Patients

May 2, 2024 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Michelle Henry announced that a western Pennsylvania nurse will spend the rest of her life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for intentionally administering lethal doses of insulin to patients at numerous skilled nursing facilities.

Heather Pressdee, of Natrona Heights, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder, and 19 counts of criminal attempt to commit murder.

The guilty pleas regard Pressdee administering lethal and potentially lethal doses of insulin to 22 patients at facilities in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, and Westmoreland counties, beginning in 2020. Most of the patients died very soon after the insulin dose, or some time later.

In accordance with a plea agreement, a Butler County Judge sentenced Pressdee to three consecutive life sentences regarding three counts of first degree murder, plus 380 to 760 years of consecutive incarceration for the 19 counts of criminal attempt to commit murder.

“The defendant used her position of trust as a means to poison patients who depended on her for care,” Attorney General Henry said. “This plea and life sentence will not bring back the lives lost, but it will ensure Heather Pressdee never has another opportunity to inflict further harm. I offer my sincere sympathy to all who have suffered at this defendant’s hands. I commend my agents and investigators, and assisting agencies, who meticulously worked this investigation to uncover the defendant’s terrible acts.”

Numerous relatives of the victims spoke during the hearing this week in Butler County Court. In victim impact statements, they disclosed pain and anguish caused by learning their loved one’s death was not natural, but was caused by a criminal act.

The Office of Attorney General received a referral late in 2022 regarding a patient under Pressdee’s care. The Office of Attorney General then conducted a comprehensive investigation which revealed numerous deaths linked to Pressdee.

Charges were filed in May and November 2023. Pressdee has been incarcerated since her arrest in May 2023.

This case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Baxter, Senior Deputy Attorney General Edward “Kee” Song, and Deputy Attorney General Pete Caravello, all of the Office of Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Section.

The Pennsylvania Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $10,632,312 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2024. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $ $3,544,100 for FY 2024, is funded by Pennsylvania.

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