Donald Harvey, otherwise known to the world as the "Angel of Death," was assaulted on March 28th in his prison cell in Ohio and passed away yesterday (March 30th, 2017) at the age of 64. It is with this news that we would like to focus today's "Killer Profile" feature on the Angel of Death, and just how he got his nickname and his 28 life sentences.
Donald Harvey was born on April 15, 1952, and around the age of 18, he was already working in the medical field, working as an orderly at Marymount Hospital in London, Kentucky. It would later come out that during his short ten month stint at the hospital, Harvey took the life of at least a dozen patients, if not more. It was not for another seventeen years that the crimes Harvey committed would come to light, and even still, it is not entirely sure that all of Harvey's crimes have actually been accounted for, considering that there were so many people he could have possibly had access to.
But why exactly did Donald Harvey kill so many people? Surely by getting into the medical field, he had a desire to help people, right?! In his mind, Harvey believed he was doing the right thing. Harvey said that his victims were victims of mercy killing - that he did what was in his power to end the suffering of his patients, whom he claimed the family doctors would ignore. Because he seemed to justify his killings in his own mind, he began to self describe himself as the "Angel of Death," which is a term used to describe exactly what Harvey claimed he was doing: killing in the name of mercy.
Harvey insisted that he killed his victims solely with the intention of helping to ease the pain of his patients. It would later come to light, through his own admittance, that he also killed people who simply angered him. Harvey had many different methods to "ease the pain" of his victims, since he worked in a hospital and had access to different items. Harvey had used arsenic and cyanide (his two most commonly used methods), morphine, suffocation, poisons, insulin, turning off ventilators, hepatitis B injections, and even inserting a coat hanger into a catheter to cause an abdominal puncture.
But the mercy killing of Donald Harvey didn't stop there: his killing eventually made its way out of the comfort zone of the hospital and into the outside world. Harvey began to suspect that his lover Carl Hoeweler was cheating on him, so his response was to lace his food with arsenic so that Hoeweler would be too sick to leave the apartment. Hoeweler's father even fell victim to Harvey's arsenic poisoning. And Harvey's two neighbors were poisoned by his hand - one was killed via arsenic in her pie and the other severely sickened after he put hepatitis serum in her drink.
Donald Harvey was sentenced to 28 consecutive life sentences and $270 in fines. His first parole hearing was set for April 2043, but on March 28th, 2017, Harvey was found in his jail cell severely beaten by another inmate, and just two days later, on March 30th, 2017, Donald Harvey passed away at the age of 64.
For a more detailed in depth look at the life of Donald Harvey - the Angel of Death killer - check out the documentary we found below on YouTube!