An American nurse was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the murder of seven war veterans, deliberately injecting them with lethal doses of insulin.

Reta Mays, 46, was found guilty last July of the seven deaths and an attempted murder of an eighth man, thus avoiding a trial and an in-depth investigation into a dozen other suspicious deaths.

Confronted for the first time on Tuesday with the relatives or close friends of her victims during a hearing aimed at setting her sentence, she did not give an explanation for her actions. “There are no words I can say to comfort the families. All I can say is that I am very sorry for the pain I caused,” she said simply, sobbing.

Her attorney suggested that Mays had lost the ability to “think clearly” due to mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress from being deployed to Iraq, exacerbated by the stress caused by her employment as a night nurse at a hospital for veterans in Iraq. West Virginia, where the events occurred.

But Judge Thomas Kleeh said there was “no explanation, and, of course, no justification” for his crimes. “You are the monster that no one has seen coming,” he said.

“The country owes a heavy debt to each of them,” he added in reference to the victims, citing the service records of these former soldiers, some of whom had fought in World War II.

Mays admitted to administering insulin between July 2017 and June 2018 to these 81-96-year-old men, who did not need it.

This hormone, necessary for the treatment of diabetes, is dangerous for people unaffected by this disease because it reduces the level of glucose in the blood and can lead to coma and even death.

The deaths seemed natural at first, but a doctor eventually sounded the alarm. An investigation was then opened and some victims were exhumed for an autopsy.

The wife of one of them told the court of the shock she felt when she saw “the word homicide” written in the medical examiner’s report.

“I don’t know why he did that, we will probably never know, but he took my life,” said Norma Shaw, George Shaw’s wife, in a pre-recorded message.

Other relatives of the victims called Reta Mays a “serial killer” or a “coward,” while blaming the authorities for her lack of vigilance.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which runs the hospital, opened an investigation to determine his responsibility and closed ten compensation agreements with relatives of the victims.

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