Donald Harvey, “Angel of Death” Serial Killer: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

On Thursday, convicted killer Donald Harvey, often referred to as the “Angel of Death”, died after being attacked in his prison cell on Tuesday.

Harvey is believed to have killed dozens of hospital patients during his 18-year murder spree, when he worked as a nurse’s aide.

Read on to learn more about the “Angel of Death”.

1. He Was Found Injured in His Cell on Tuesday

On Tuesday afternoon, Donald Harvey was found injured in his prison cell at the Toledo Correctional Institution in Toledo, Ohio. According to ABC News, a patrol report stated that the 64-year-old man was beaten by an unnamed person who entered his cell.

On Wednesday, Harvey was reported to be in critical condition.

2. He Pleaded Guilty to 37 Murders of Hospital Patients In 1987

In 1987, Harvey pleaded guilty to the murders of 37 hospital patients while working as a nurse’s aide in Cincinnati and London, Kentucky.

He later claimed responsibility for the deaths of 18 other people while employed at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cincinnati.

To this day, Harvey’s death toll remains unclear. He claimed to have murdered 87 people, but estimates assume somewhere between 37 and 57 victims.

3. He Worked as a Nurse’s Aide

Harvey’s killings began in 1970 while he was working as an orderly at Marymount Hospital in London, Kentucky. Harvey has said that in the 10 months he worked at Marymount, he killed at least 12 patients. His first reported murder was on May 30, 1970, when he was just 18-years-old. It involved the death of an 88-year-old patient named Logan Evans, who, in the words of the Boston Herald, was “was smothered by Harvey with a pillow and a sheet of blue plastic.”

Donald was described as being odd by many people who both attended his trial and were investigating the deaths he claimed responsibility for. Jim Fisher, author of Forensics Under Fire told Smithsonian in a feature on the convicted killer: “He was quite bizarre. And on certain levels, raised some doubts as to whether or not this guy was reciting some sort of fantasy.”

4. He Claimed He Was Trying to End His Patients’ Suffering

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In a 1987 jailhouse interview with a reporter for the Enquirer, according to, Harvey expressed no remorse for the role he played in the deaths. “Some of those (patients) might have lasted a few more hours or a few more days, but they were all going to die. I know you think I played God, and I did.” Harvey has said that many of his victims were chronically ill and on their way to death, and that he was killing them to end their suffering.

Harvey killed many of his patients by putting arsenic and cyanide in their hospital meals. According to FOX, he was first found out after a medical examiner smelled cyanide during a victim’s autopsy. The outlet also reports that Harvey pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and that “he liked the control of determining who lived and died.”

5. He Told Detectives He Kept a List of His Victims Behind the Mirror in His Home

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During his twelve hour confession, Harvey revealed that he kept a list of all his victims behind the mirror in his home.

Harvey was 64 years old, and would have been eligible for parole in his 90s.