"ANGEL OF DEATH" ACQUITTED - AIR FORCE
MALE NURSE CLEARED IN DEATHS OF THREE
TERMINALLY-ILL PATIENTS - ORDEAL FOR
CAPT MICHAEL FONTANA IS OVER - OFFICER
COLLAPES IN TEARS IN ARMS OF FAMILY
MEMBERS - WANTS TO RETURN TO DUTY AT
WILFORD HALL MEDICAL CENTER IN TEXAS
He beat the odds and walked out of the courtroom a free man.
Bucking a court-martial conviction rate of nearly 98%, Capt. Michael Fontana had seemed a sure bet for a lifetime prison cell at Leavenworth. But in a surprise that shocked one and all, the 36 year-old male nurse was acquitted after a week-long court martial at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.
Fontana had been hit with three counts of hastening the deaths of patients under his care at Wilford Hall Medical Center. Prosecutors claimed the captain pumped the patients full of pain-killer drugs to "speed up" their demise.
Now the hard-charging JAGs are busy wiping egg off their faces. They lost "big time."
FONTANA'S BELIEF IN OWN INNOCENCE VINDICATED
The nurse steadfastly maintained his innocence during the long months since he was charged last March. And his friends and family members never lost faith he was "not guilty." The sobbing officer collapsed into the arms of loved ones outside the courtroom. His ordeal was over.
An Iraq War veteran, Fontana said he wants to return to nursing if the Air Force will let him. The emergency care nurse has been toiling in the hospital library during the long period leading up to last week's seven-day trial.
When we first wrote about the Fontana case, (see "related stories box" below), we wondered if there was any connection with previous unexplained deaths at the sprawling Texas medical facility. We are happy to to say there is none, and we wish to congratulate the military judge, Col. William Bird, for making a decision solely on the evidence (or lack of same) and not "going along" with the Command, as is usually the case, and sending an apparently innocent man to the DB for the rest of his life.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Bad news for wealthy widow, "the tiny terror," Tracy the Shrew, who became very rich after her husband's mysterious death in Boerne, Tex. April 16, 2003. Authors John and Anita Porterfield, hot on the terrible-tempered one's heels, are fully recovered from a recent illness and are back on track writing a book about Col. Philip Shue that is destined to top the best-seller lists and, perhaps, send at least one person to prison for a very long time. The ace investigators have come up with a "smoking gun" in the case that will force the FBI to get involved. The end result won't be pretty for local "law enforcement" officials who bungled the investigation from day one.]