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Nurse Aide Gets Life in Patients’ Deaths

February 22, 2006

BERLIN (AP) _ A nursing assistant was convicted Wednesday in a Bonn court of killing nine women she had been caring for and sentenced to life in prison.

The defendant, Michaela Giersberg, was convicted of four counts of murder, four of manslaughter and one of mercy killing in the crimes, which occurred between 2003 and 2005.

The Bonn state court ruled that the evidence showed that the 27-year-old killed the nine women, aged between 79 and 93, at the nursing home near the former capital where she worked. Most of the women were suffocated with cushions or towels.

The court also banned Giersberg from the nursing profession for life.

The defendant initially confessed to the killings, then retracted the statement she made to police. However, presiding Judge Udo Buhren said the court had ``no reasonable doubt″ about her original confession.

Buhren said that, in several rounds of questioning before retracting her testimony, she had described her actions ``in detail, precisely and always in the same way.″

Defense lawyer Martin Kretschmer said he would appeal.

In a separate trial that opened in southern Germany earlier this month, a nurse faces murder charges over the deaths of 29 people at a Bavarian clinic.

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