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The nurse, 36-year-old Roger Andermatt, killed the patients, most of them women between 66 and 95, with lethal injections or by smothering them with plastic bags at several nursing homes where he worked between 1995 and 2001.
He said he had acted from compassion for his ailing victims, because he wanted to end their suffering, and because he and his nursing colleagues were severely overburdened.
The prosecutor said Mr. Andermatt had cooperated with the investigation and even admitted further crimes for which there was no proof.
Mr. Andermatt, who will spend a minimum of 15 years in jail, was ordered to pay 75,000 Swiss francs, or $63,000, compensation to relatives of four of his victims and court costs of $161,000.