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Nurse Faces Trial in Germany over Deaths of 100 Patients

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A former nurse serving life sentence for murder went for trial on Tuesday on charges that he killed another 100 patients at two hospitals in Germany.

The nurse, Niels Hoegel, 41, told a court in the northwestern city of Oldenburg that the charges against him were largely accurate, the news agency DPA reported.

The murder charges stem from Mr. Hoegel’s time at a hospital in Oldenburg between 1999 and 2002 and at a hospital in Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005. The patients were ages 34 to 96.

Mr. Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders. During that trial, he said he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in some 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. He later told investigators that he also killed patients in Oldenburg.

Authorities subsequently investigated hundreds of deaths, exhuming the bodies of former patients.

The Oldenburg state court is conducting the trial in a conference center to accommodate the large number of co-plaintiffs and the high public interest.

Judge Sebastian Buehrmann opened the proceedings by asking everyone to stand for a minute of silence for the patients. He promised Mr. Hoegel a fair trial.

An additional conviction could affect Mr. Hoegel’s chances for parole, but there are no consecutive sentences in Germany. In general, people serving life sentences are considered for parole after 15 years.

“We have fought for four years for this trial and expect Hoegel to be convicted of another 100 killings,” said Christian Marbach, a representative of the patients’ relatives. “The aim is for Hoegel to stay in custody as long as possible.”

The trial is scheduled to last until May.

Police have said that if local health officials hadn’t hesitated in alerting authorities Mr. Hoegel could have been stopped earlier. Authorities are pursuing criminal cases against former staff members at the two medical facilities.

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