Criminal Justice

Release looms for nurse, a suspected serial child killer, unless DA can prove more crimes

Genene Jones was denied parole last week.

But it could be only a question of time until the former Texas pediatric nurse, convicted of killing one 15-month-old child in her care and suspected in as many as 46 other child deaths, is free, according to KPRC and the San Antonio Express-News.

Now 64, Jones was sentenced to life in 1984 after being convicted of murdering Chelsea McClellan through an injection of a muscle relaxant. However, Jones is scheduled for release early in 2018 under a mandatory sentencing law intended to alleviate prison overcrowding. The law has since been changed, but still applies to Jones and others sentenced years ago.

Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed told the station and the Express-News she hopes to prevent Jones’ release by investigating and potentially trying one or more of the other cases in which the licensed vocational nurse is a suspect.

“I personally believe Genene Jones should not get out of prison,” Reed said last year.

An unusual number of deaths occurred in at least one Texas hospital when Jones was working there. But investigating hospital officials eliminated her position rather than pursuing additional action concerning what an internal report described as “sudden and unexplained” complications that caused the death of 10 children while Jones was caring for them, Texas Monthly reported in 1983.

This association of Jones “with the deaths of the 10 children could be coincidental. However, negligence or wrongdoing cannot be excluded,” the report said.

After leaving the San Antonio hospital, Jones worked for a pediatrician in private practice in Kerrville. Chelsea McClellan was one of that doctor’s patients.

The author of the Texas Monthly article, Peter Elkind, later went on to write a true-crime book about Jones, The Death Shift. It suggests that Jones injected children with drugs to create medcal crises in which she could play a starring role, not intending to kill them.

The Detroit Free Press, Fox 29 and KHOU also have stories.

Recent news articles don’t include any comment from Jones or her legal counsel.

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