Donald Harvey and his killer were in protective custody unit, union says

'Angel of Death' killed many at Drake Hospital
Posted at 10:53 AM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 11:00:10-04

TOLEDO, Ohio -- The suspect in the fatal prison beating of a serial killer dubbed the "Angel of Death" was a fellow Ohio inmate in a protective custody unit, a union representing corrections officers says.

Former nurse's aide Donald Harvey died last month after he was found beaten at the state's prison in Toledo. He pleaded guilty to poisoning 24 patients at Cincinnati's Drake Hospital between 1986 and 1987.

RELATED: How WCPO helped uncover a serial killer

Harvey, 64, had been incarcerated at Toledo Correctional Institution in Lucas County since 2008. A prison spokeswoman told The Blade that Harvey was in protective custody because of his case's notoriety, but the unit isn't extra-restrictive housing.

Investigators haven't publicly identified or charged the suspect or said why the suspect was in protective custody.


Former Police Chief Larry Whalen said he figured Harvey would be killed in prison, he only expected it to happen a lot sooner.

"Criminals who commit crimes against the very young and the very old are not held in high esteem by other inmates, and frankly I'm not surprised at what occurred. I really didn't think it would take this long," Whalen said.

READ MORE: Officials say he got what was coming to him

Harvey was serving multiple life sentences, after he ultimately was convicted of 36 murders between 1970 and 1987. He said at first he selected patients for “mercy killings,” but he continued killing because he liked it.

He said he used cyanide most of the time because it was hard to detect. But a doctor doing an autopsy on one of his Drake Hospital victims caught a whiff of the poison, and authorities traced the killing to Harvey.

That might have been the end of the story -- one count of murder -- except for WCPO anchor Pat Minarcin. Minarcin's investigation revealed a serial killer.

Harvey admitted to the killings to escape the death penalty.