Nursing Home Killer Released After Serving 30 Years For Murdering Patients

WWJ News
January 18, 2020 - 1:02 pm

WALKER, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - A woman who spent 30 years in prison for the deaths of residents at a Michigan nursing home has been released on parole.

Relatives of victims had sued to keep Catherine Wood locked up, but a judge in October said he wouldn't block the parole board's decision. The 57-year-old was released from custody on Thursday.

Between 1986 and 1987, five elderly patients were suffocated at Alpine Manor Nursing Home in Walker. The victims often could not speak and required around-the-clock assistance, needing help eating and getting dressed. In total, Wood confessed to helping kill at least five patients, but said that she and co-defendant Gwendolyn Graham planned to kill many more.

Wood cooperated with investigators and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy in Oct. 1989 and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. She had been housed at a federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, to separate her from Graham.

Graham is serving a life sentence.

The parole board previously considered and denied Wood parole eight times. Each time, the board’s denial was due to the severity of Wood’s crimes and the threat she posed to public safety. In her ninth request, Wood was granted parole.

The victims include Mae Mason, 79; Edith Cole, 89; Marguerite Chambers, 60; Myrtle Luce, 95; and Belle Burkhard, 74.