Killer nurse pleads guilty to killing, harming care home residents with insulin

A Natrona Heights woman and former nurse pleaded guilty Thursday to harming and killing patients she was supposed to care for.

It comes nearly a year after Heather Pressdee, 41, was first arrested and charged with harming and killing patients. As the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General continued to investigate, it found more victims going back to late 2020.

Pressdee, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of James Bartoe, Gerald Shrum Sr. and Nicholas Cymbol, received life in prison with no possibility for parole.

Investigators said Pressdee admitted to unnecessarily injecting her patients with insulin, killing them or attempting to kill them and even injecting some patients on more than one occasion if they did not die.

The incidents happened at nursing home facilities in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties.

Pressdee faced a long list of charges including two counts of murder and two counts of criminal homicide. Criminal complaints and wrongful death lawsuits link her to at least 17 deaths.

She was also charged with criminal attempt homicide, neglect of a care-dependent person, recklessly endangering another person, aggravated assault and murder.

Pressdee worked at 11 different nursing homes and hospitals over the course of about 4.5 years. Her career began in October 2018 and ended with her arrest in May 2023.

Her alleged victims range in age from 43 to 104 years old.

Channel 11 has been investigating how this happened, and one advocacy group is urging state lawmakers to get involved.

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