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Serial Killer Says He Liked Playing God

September 2, 1991

LEXINGTON, KY. (AP) _ Convicted mass murderer Donald Harvey says he killed more than three dozen times because he loved playing God.

″I liked the control I had over being able to pull something over on the doctors, the nurses,″ the former nursing aide told the Lexington Herald- Leader in an interview published Sunday. ″I liked the control I had decidin’ who lived and who died.″

Harvey, a 39-year-old Kentucky native, pleaded guilty four years ago to killing 37 people in Ohio and Kentucky over 17 years. He is serving consecutive life sentences for the killings that began in 1970 when he was a teen-age orderly. He suffocated or poisoned most of his victims.

″Well, once I got started I couldn’t stop. I just kept going,″ he said in an interview at Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio, 25 miles northeast of Cincinnati.

He maintained his claim some of the slayings were mercy killings.

″I would not kill someone for the pleasure of just killin’ or just to get rid of them. The ones in the hospital, there had to be no chance they would ever get better,″ Harvey said.

Harvey used cyanide, arsenic and cleaning fluid to poison some patients. He used methods he learned from an undertaker he befriended to kill the others.

Unsuspecting co-workers had dubbed him the ″Angel of Death″ because he frequently was around when someone died.

Harvey pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty. He will be eligible for parole when he is 95, and doesn’t like his chances for early release.

″It looks bad to the parole board, put it that way,″ he said of his crimes.

Harvey criticized confessed dismemberment killer Jeffrey Dahmer over his claims to Milwaukee authorities that he cannibalized his victims.

″To kill somebody and then cut ‘em up and eat ‘em, I find that very sickenin’.″

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