Ex-nurse sus­pected in up to 60 child deaths

Regina Leader-Post - - NEWS -

SAN AN­TO­NIO • An im­pris­oned former nurse who pros­e­cu­tors be­lieve could be re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of up to 60 chil­dren in Texas pleaded not guilty Thurs­day to mur­der charges in the deaths of five chil­dren in the early 1980s.

Genene Jones, 67, was ar­raigned Thurs­day in San An­to­nio. She was brought into court in a wheel­chair and wore a sur­gi­cal mask.

Jones is serv­ing con­cur­rent 99-year and 60-year sen­tences in state prison for the killing of 15-month-old Chelsea McClel­lan and the sick­en­ing of 4-week-old Rolando San­tos. Be­fore the new charges were brought, Jones had been sched­uled to be freed in March 2018 un­der a manda­tory re­lease law that was in place when she was con­victed.

Bexar County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Nico LaHood said each case will be tried sep­a­rately. Jones could face up to life in prison on each charge.

Chil­dren died of un­ex­plained seizures and other com­pli­ca­tions when Jones worked at a San An­to­nio hos­pi­tal and clinic in Ker­rville, about 90 kilo­me­tres the north­west of San An­to­nio.

“This is an enor­mous step in the right di­rec­tion to se­cure jus­tice for these slain chil­dren, their fam­i­lies and our com­mu­nity as a whole,” LaHood said at a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day.

He said they’ll first try the case of 11-month-old Joshua Sawyer, who in­ves­ti­ga­tors say died in 1981 of a fa­tal over­dose of an anti-seizure drug.

“Our goal, my goal is that she takes her last breath from be­hind bars and she meets the Lord from be­hind bars,” LaHood said Wed­nes­day.

Pros­e­cu­tors at Jones’ 1984 mur­der trial said the nurse lethally in­jected chil­dren at the Ker­rville clinic to demon­strate the need for a pe­di­atric in­ten­sive care unit at a nearby hos­pi­tal. Other pros­e­cu­tors the­o­rized that her tac­tic was to take swift med­i­cal ac­tion and save some of her vic­tims so she could ap­pear to be a sort of mir­a­cle worker.

LaHood said Wed­nes­day that to­day’s pros­e­cu­tors “don’t re­ally know” her mo­ti­va­tion.

“To me, evil is evil is evil,” LaHood said Wed­nes­day, “All I know is these chil­dren were stolen from fam­ily.”

It’s not clear why Jones’ ac­tions, in­volv­ing so many sus­pected vic­tims, were not de­tected ear­lier. But Sam Mill­sap, a pre­vi­ous dis­trict at­tor­ney in Bexar County, told KSAT-TV in 2013 that med­i­cal records at the San An­to­nio hos­pi­tal at one point were ac­ci­den­tally de­stroyed, ham­per­ing ef­forts by in­ves­ti­ga­tors to prove their sus­pi­cions.

Genene Jones

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