Three of the four children who died under Genene Jones' care.
Since late May, a Bexar County grand jury has steadily handed over four separate indictments to Genene Jones, charging the former pediatric nurse with the murder of four different children under her watch — nearly 40 years ago.
Each of these children were patients in the pediatric intensive care unit of Bexar County Hospital (now University Hospital) at the time of their death, and each died after Jones allegedly injected them with some type of drug, according to Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood. None of them were over 15 months old.
The most recent indictments came down Thursday morning, accusing Jones with the July 1981 murder of 8-month-old Richard "Ricky" Nelson and for the January, 1982 murder of 4-month-old Patrick Zavala. At a Thursday afternoon press conference, LaHood told reporters that each charge will be tried as a separate case against the 66-year-old woman.
Jones, however, is already serving time
for murdering another child during that same early-1980s time period. It's a similar case: Jones was charged for injecting a 15-month-old girl with a powerful muscle relaxant instead of routine baby shots, which killed her. Jones has only served 33 years of her 99-year sentence, but an unexplained wrinkle in state criminal justice policy has granted her a March 2018 release date.
That's because of a 1977 "good time" law, which granted all Texas inmates a dramatically reduced prison sentence for good behavior. The law, intended to crack down on the growing prison population, was overturned in 1996 — but it can't be applied retroactively.
Once news of her looming release hit the DA's office, county attorneys rushed to reopen the case to find a way to keep Jones behind bars.
The Thursday indictment comes after a 2011 letter penned by Jones was handed over to the DA's office, in which she apologizes to the Texas Board of Nursing “for the damage I did to all because of my crime.” According to the DA's office, this is just as good as a confession.
“We already knew she was guilty," assistant DA Jason Goss told reporter Peter Elkind
for a Texas Monthly
and ProPublica story. "The fact that she’s saying it to this nursing board just strengthens that belief. Just the fact that she’s acknowledging that means she’s not an innocent person in her own mind.”
LaHood has yet to provide much information on how, exactly, his team successfully got a grand jury to indict Jones on these decades-old deaths. It's unknown what kind of evidence he'll be using in trial, but he's said each of the children's families have been involved in the investigations. The trials are expected to begin begin sometime before Jones' March release date.