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Police: Nursing chief dismissed 'Angel of Death' claims
By Jameel Naqvi | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/29/2009 12:00 AM

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After three nurses told Penny Whitlock one of their colleagues was acting as an "Angel of Death," the nursing home supervisor dismissed the claims and failed to inform state authorities, police investigators testified Tuesday.

Their testimony came during a hearing on Whitlock's motion to suppress statements she made to Illinois State Police during an interview in September 2006.

"After three nurses came to you saying Marty Himebaugh is killing people, why didn't you tell the Illinois Department of Public Health?" state police investigator Mike Kuba recalled asking Whitlock.

"They were just petty nurses making petty allegations," she replied, according to Kuba.

Whitlock, 60, of Woodstock faces charges of criminal neglect and felony obstructing justice for allegedly covering up for Himebaugh, who authorities have accused of intentionally administering fatal doses of morphine to four patients at Woodstock Residence in 2006.

Kuba, the investigator who interviewed Whitlock in September 2006, said Whitlock denied that she knew Himebaugh referred to herself as the "Angel of Death."

Whitlock's statement was at odds with what another nurse at the facility told investigators. According to Kuba, the nurse told police that when Whitlock heard about Himebaugh's alleged abuses, she said, "If she wants to be the Angel of Death, let her."

Whitlock's attorney, Nils Von Keudell, sought to show Whitlock was not informed of her Constitutional rights before making the incriminating statements to police - rendering that evidence inadmissible.

Under defense questioning, Kuba said state police did not read Whitlock her rights until about half an hour into the interview because "she was not in custody."

Testimony on the motion to suppress Whitlock's statements will continue on Aug. 11. No decision was issued Tuesday.