Elizabeth Wettlaufer

by bryannamath on March 17, 2017 - 5:44pm

The Canadian criminal trial I chose to focus on was the recent case of a female registered nurse who murdered and attempted to murder several elderly people that were under her care in a nursing home. 49-year-old Elizabeth Wettlaufer has been charged with 8 counts of murder and 6 counts of attempted murder of patients that were under her care in the nursing home she worked at. She had a history of drug abuse but she posted on an online account saying ‘found God and was not a lesbian anymore.’ The families did not believe that their loved ones died as a result of a natural cause but they did not say anything. Until one family, whose loved one was healthy just a few days before, suspected that there was something more than a natural cause. So they demanded an autopsy to be preformed and it turns out their hunches were right, they were murdered. There was an investigation and all of the patients either died or got sick under the defendants care. She was then charged and now is being tried for the deaths of 8 elderly people. Since the initial charges, she has later been charged with the attempted murder of 6 other patients in the nursing home. Gender roles play an important role in this case for several reasons. The main one being that until a family did not believe that their loved one died from natural causes and had an autopsy done. When the results came back, the families could not believe that their loved ones did not die naturally like they thought, but from drugs that were injected into them. Another reason is that the offender demonstrates gender roles are that the offender had a drug issue in the past. Females are not expected to kill many people. Also, the fact that she was once a lesbian means that she was deemed a deviant in society’s eyes. This could mean that if she sees herself a deviant in one aspect of her life, even though it may have been in the past, she may think that she might as well be a deviant or not conform to social norms in all aspects of her life. The gender-role played an issue in the case because no one expected a nurse in the nursing home to harm, especially not kill, a patient that was put into their care. Women are not expected to commit violent crimes especially not multiple times such as a serial killer does and especially when it comes to the care of the elderly who, because of their nurturing nature, they are expected to take care of. The gender role of the offender shaped the trial greatly. It was a shock to the Canadian population that a woman working as a registered nurse, was able to successfully commit a series of murders and attempted murders without anyone noticing. Many people could not wrap their minds around the fact that a woman was able to be a serial killer and murder innocent elderly people. Even though the case has not come to an end, there is more than enough proof that she took the lives of 8 elderly people. The understanding of gender roles played greatly into this case. The idea of a female nurse killing many elderly people puts a shock wave into the medical system as well as the justice system. I think that if a person dies in a nursing home or any care facility, it should not matter the manner of death, there should be an autopsy. This could have stopped Elizabeth sooner by detecting the drugs in the patients systems.