My original blog about Genene Jones is simply titled Genene Jones – Death Shift Nurse. She was convicted in 1984 of killing an infant and suspected of murdering dozens more. The precise number of infants she has been suspected of killing is 46. Astonishingly, she will be released from prison without completing her 99 year sentence because of an expired Texas law that grants a “mandatory release” to inmates with good behavior. Wait a minute now. It it’s expired doesn’t that mean it is off the books and cannot be applied to this woman’s case? Expired must mean something else in Texas law books.
On May 14, 1984 Genene Anne Jones, now 63, was sentenced for the murder of 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan in 1982 in a small-town pediatric clinic where Jones was a nurse. “I was holding Chelsea, she was facing me, and Jones gave her the first shot in her left thigh. Immediately Chelsea had trouble breathing. Chelsea was trying to say my name, but she couldn’t. I was extremely upset,” Petti McClellan, the victim’s mother, told ABC News.
Think about it. Not only is the pathological Jones capable of killing an innocent infant, she had the kinky thrill of killing the child while her mother was holding her. Jones began injecting the child with a lethal dose of the muscle relaxant succinylcholine. Jones was also convicted of injuring a child in another attack in which the child survived. She was sentenced to 60 years on that conviction, but it was ordered to be served concurrently with the 99 year sentence.
Ron Sutton, the criminal prosecutor who won the murder conviction, estimates that Jones is responsible for the deaths of between 11 and 46 infants in Bexar County from 1978 and 1982. “I was present when all the investigators were adding up the numbers and, 11 to 46… I can confirm that that’s what it was,” Sutton told ABC News.
For Petti McClellan those numbers are stunning. “Just the idea of a serial killer walking free in the United States of America is the craziest thing I have ever heard of,” McClellan said. McClellan, 59, and those opposed to Jones’ release are trying to find another of her alleged victims for a fresh murder prosecution in order to prevent her release. “I truly feel it in my heart that this is something I have to do,” McClellan said. “How does it make me different from her if I don’t do anything?”
But their efforts are complicated by the fact that the facilities where the children died have destroyed records surrounding the infants’ deaths. “A lot of the victims’ medical records and documents were shredded or disappeared from the hospital where Jones worked,” Andy Kahan, a victim’s advocate for the Houston mayor’s office, told ABC News. The facility, now called University Hospital, declined to comment on any aspect of the story. I’ll just bet. Who wants to comment on their own ineptitude?
Jones is scheduled to be released from prison on Feb. 24, 2018, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She will have served 35 years, about one-third of her sentence. McClellan was meeting with Texas State senators in the early 1990s when she discovered that Jones would be scheduled for early release. “A congressman came up to me and as I told them Chelsea’s story he stopped me and asked when Genene Jones was sentenced,” McClellan recalled. He then told McClellan he would be back in a minute and left. “When he came back he looked upset and he told me, ‘[Houston…okay so he didn’t say that part] we have a problem’,” McClellan said. “That’s when he told me Genene Jones would not serve her full sentence. I couldn’t believe it.”
Jones will be released because of a Texas law called Mandatory Supervision. Enacted in 1977, the law allowed all convicted criminals to be automatically released on parole after they complete a certain amount of calendar time and good conduct time, which includes participating in work and self-improvement programs. Mandatory Supervision was amended in 1987 to exclude violent criminals. But any violent criminal convicted in Texas before 1987 is still eligible for early release, according to the guide. Now I get the expired thing….the law isn’t on the books anymore but it still was in time for criminals like Jones to slip under the radar. Rats. Hey, it’s not a bowl of cottage cheese. Can’t they un-expire it? Or perhaps hurry up and make a new law that goes from 1983 and onward or some such thing?
“Genene Jones has been eligible for parole since 1989, and every three years since 1989 her case has been renewed and parole been denied,” Harry Batson, a public information officer for the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole, told ABC News. There is only one way to ensure that Jones stays in prison, authorities said.
“We need to find another case, another victim, whose death we can charge her with sufficient evidence,” Andy Kahan said. “We only have a few years left to do this,” Kahan said. “We just need one person to come forward.”
“I was there from the late 70’s to early 80’s. My job was to oversee the Medicare and Medicaid patients and make sure they got the appropriate medical care,” said Joyce Riley was a nurse consultant at the hospital. “There was talk within the pediatrics unit in the hospital that there were a lot of babies dying,” Riley said. “And the way the babies were dying was very unusual. Granted, these children were already sick because they were in the pediatric ICU. But they would suffer from these really untoward events. Things like an infant burn victim all of a sudden going into a respiratory attack. These kids would suddenly bleed out or go into cardiac arrest. Their causes of death were not related to their illnesses at all.”
A Facebook group called “Victims of Genene Anne Jones” has 38 members. Joann Garza, the group’s administrator, had a twin brother her family believes was killed by Jones. Garza’s brother, Joel, was taken to Bexar County Hospital after he choked on his bottle. According to Garza, Jones gave shots to her brother and two unidentified twin girls. All three children died.
Sounding rather like Diane Downs, who shot her 3 children, murdering 1,”every time the press said something negative about her, [Jones] would hold a press conference to defend herself. That would just fan the flames. But she wouldn’t listen to us. She kept saying she could handle it,” the lawyer said.
Genene Jones did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Perhaps she’s decided to take her lawyers advice and has turned away from the limelight.