Judge rules caregiver not guilty in death of Betty Rice

Elizabeth Ogle walks out of the Sevier County Jail for the first time in more than 2 years as a free woman. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

Elizabeth Ogle walks out of the Sevier County Jail for the first time in more than 2 years as a free woman. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A judge ruled on Friday that a Sevier Co. caregiver was not guilty of murder in connection with the death of Betty Rice.

Elizabeth Ogle was arrested in 2010 and charged with murder several months after Rice died in 2009. She has been sitting in the Sevier County jail since then on a $1million bond.

Prosecutors spent Tuesday trying to prove Ogle neglected Rice. They provided the medical examiners report to show that Ogle gave Rice a lethal dose of medicine shortly after being willed her caretaker.

The defense countered that argument with medical experts from all over the country, many who paid their own way, because they felt like Ogle was wrongly accused.

"There's no way scientifically, to calculate a level of drugs in an organ, what her level might have been during life," said Dr. Gregory Davis, a Professor of Pathology from the University of Kentucky. "The only thing we can say is the 4 drugs she was prescribed during life, she had in her when she died."

The judge says the case wasn't worth going to the jury. he made a ruling of not guilty after hearing all the testimony this week.

"This court must, I feel duty compels me, to direct a verdict of not guilty of this defendant on all charges," Judge Rex Ogle told the court.

Elizabeth Ogle was able to walk out of the Sevier County jail a free woman, she was jumping for joy, feeling the grass, and reaching for the trees, things she's not been able to enjoy in more than 2 years.

"It's been very depressing, very sad, scary," said Elizabeth Ogle. "I will take nothing for granted anymore. That's like walking over here, feeling of the grass, touching the trees, I haven't seen grass and trees in 27 months and one day."


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