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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Murder trial begins for former Shands nurse

A murder trial began this week for a former Shands at UF nurse charged with killing a woman in November 2005 by injecting her with a powerful anesthetic.

The state began its presentation of evidence against Oliver Travis O'Quinn, 29, on Tuesday. He is accused of killing a woman who his former roommate said he was infatuated with.

The case will probably be presented to the jury Friday, said Bill Cervone, state attorney.

If charged with first-degree murder, O'Quinn could face a life sentence with no parole.

Michelle Ann Herndon was found dead in her home with a needle-puncture mark on her left arm, according to the Gainesville Police Department report.

During a search of the victim's home, police found a bottle of propofol, an anesthetic, and assorted "drug paraphernalia" used in the delivery of intravenous drugs, the report said.

The medical examiner said the level of propofol in the victim's blood rendered her immediately unconscious, according to the report.

Two other bottles of different drugs were found, and all three were traced back to Shands at UF.

O'Quinn's former roommate had introduced him to Herndon.

The roommate described O'Quinn as being infatuated with Herndon, the report said.

O'Quinn suddenly left for New York City on Nov. 8, about a week after Herndon became engaged to her boyfriend of four years, the report said.

On Nov. 9, O'Quinn was forced to resign from Shands' surgical intensive care unit.

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Herndon was found dead in her home a day later.

Police found O'Quinn at his part-time job as an emergency-room nurse in Williston, Fla. O'Quinn said he would contact police later in the month, the report said.

In late November, O'Quinn's father said his son was in Tennessee and that O'Quinn was sad because a girlfriend of his died from an overdose, the report said.

O'Quinn fled the country soon after and had to be extradited back to the U.S.

O'Quinn's arrest warrant was made in January 2006, and no bond was set at that time.

His first appearance was in October.

This week, testimonies have already been given from Herndon's mother, the medical examiner and other medical experts who explained the drug used on Herndon, Cervone said.

Cervone said the death penalty wasn't considered in this case because O'Quinn had no prior criminal history.

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