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Request Denied in 'Angel of Death' Case

October 21, 2000|JASON SONG

A Burbank Superior Court judge denied a request Friday to release documents concerning alleged victims of "Angel of Death" suspect Efren Saldivar.

Saldivar's lawyer, Terry M. Goldberg, had asked for tests, including toxicology reports, on John N. Schwartz and 19 others who died at Glendale Adventist Medical Center during the 1990s, when Saldivar was a respiratory therapist at the hospital.

Saldivar is currently being sued by the Schwartz family in a civil wrongful death case.

Burbank Superior Court Judge Carl J. West rejected the request because, he said, it was "too broad" and the "potential relevance of the documents are marginal at best and I don't think . . . the significance is enough to overcome the interest of the public and the confidential nature of these investigative files."

In March 1998, Glendale police said that Saldivar, calling himself the "Angel of Death," confessed to 40 to 50 mercy killings at the hospital. Saldivar was not charged and later said he was depressed and made up the story.

Although Goldberg's request was denied, he said his client had done nothing wrong.

"The fact the judge saw the documents and said they were not relevant to the case is the important point here," he said.

Chris Nicoll, a lawyer for the family of Schwartz, a 91-year-old man who died at Glendale Adventist Medical Center in 1993, supported the judge's decision.

"The reports . . . really should not be public at this point," said Nicoll, whose wife is Schwartz's granddaughter.

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