Nearing release from prison, Texas nurse charged with infant’s ’81 death

May 26 (UPI) — A former Texas pediatric nurse, who authorities believe killed dozens of infants in her care decades ago, was indicted Thursday on new charges for the death of a baby boy in 1981.

For years, police have suspected that Genene Jones was responsible for as many as 60 infant deaths between 1977 and 1982. In 1984, she was convicted of killing 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan with an overdose of succinylcholine and sentenced to 99 years in prison. She has so far served 34 years.

Last month, however, Texas officials said Jones would be released in March 1, 2018, under a state law that aims to de-crowd overpopulated prisons and jails by freeing inmates who have a record of good behavior.

In an effort to keep Jones behind bars, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood is pursuing a murder charge for the December 1981 death of 11-month-old Joshua Sawyer. The infant died at San Antonio’s Bexar County Hospital while in Jones’ care. Officials said he was given a fatal dose of the sedative Dilantin.

Authorities said during the years Jones worked in the hospital’s intensive care unit, 42 infants died — an unusually high number. Prosecutors do not believe it was a coincidence.

“There were challenges and obstacles to overcome, but with a lot of hard work and intelligent people standing behind me, we feel we have a good case,” LaHood said at a news conference Friday.

Prosecutors said they are certain of Jones’ guilt in the deaths of other children. They argued at her first trial in 1984 that she would poison the infants in her care — with the intention of resuscitating them and being seen as a hero. Many of the newborns, though, couldn’t be revived.

Jones, 66, became known in the press as the “Angel of Death.”

Prosecutors in the new case say the former nurse should be locked up for the rest of her life.

“Our office’s only focus is seeking justice for families,” LaHood added. “Ultimately, true justice will come when she stands before our Lord. But until then, we will make sure Genene Jones will take her last breath behind bars.”

LaHood said Jones became emotional Thursday when he informed her of the new indictment.

The district attorney said it’s possible Jones might also face additional charges in other infants’ deaths — cases that his office continues to investigate.



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