Tester Statement on Guilty Plea in Clarksburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center Murders

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement on the defendant’s guilty plea in the Clarksburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), West Virginia, case:

“Today’s guilty plea is an important step towards justice for the victims and their families in West Virginia. The VA must be held accountable to strengthen their oversight to prevent these heinous and cruel incidents in the future. That’s why I applaud Senator Manchin’s efforts in pushing the VA and federal law enforcement to work aggressively throughout this investigation, and will continue to partner with him to ensure VA implements necessary protocols to address systemic issues at their facilities and safeguard patient care. Our nation’s veterans must have confidence when they turn to VA for a variety of health care needs, they are met with the best possible care.”

In August 2019, the VA Inspector General and other federal law enforcement publically disclosed an ongoing investigation regarding “allegations of potential wrongdoing resulting in patient deaths” at Clarksburg VAMC in West Virginia. U.S. Attorney Bill Powell today announced that it is accusing former Clarksburg VA Hospital employee Reta Mays of seven counts of murder and one count of assault with intent to murder.

In December 2019, Tester worked with West Virginia Senators Manchin and Capito to successfully pass his Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019, a bill requiring VA to conduct a review and report to Congress on the incidents at Clarksburg. Tester also joined his Republican counterpart on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in leading eight colleagues in a bipartisan call to action following alarming incidents of veterans receiving inadequate care or mistreatment at VA medical facilities nationwide.