Genene Jones, a Texas nurse convicted in 1984 of murdering a baby and trying to kill another, may be a free woman next year.
The New York Daily News reports that Jones, 66, could be released on May 1, 2018, because of Texas’ “good time” law. To combat prison overcrowding, the law allows inmates convicted of violent crimes between 1977 and 1987 to be released if the time taken off for “good behavior” and time served equals their sentence.
Though the Mandatory Release law was rewritten to exclude violent offenders in 1987, it doesn’t work retroactively, CNN pointed out.
Dubbed the “Angel of Death” by the media, Jones worked at hospitals in San Antonio and Kerrville in the ’80s. It was 1982 when the nurse administered a fatal dose of muscle relaxants to 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan during an immunization. Following the murder, prosecutors determined that Jones gave a large dose of the blood thinner heparin to 4-week-old Rolando Santos. However, the boy survived the ordeal.
Jones was sentenced to 99 years for McClellan’s murder, plus 60 years for injuring Santos. The now-66-year-old has been eligible for parole since 1989 but was repeatedly denied, the Daily News reports.
Since she has been incarcerated, authorities have come to believe the Angel of Death may have been behind dozens—some estimate as many as 40-60—of suspicious deaths. A couple years after she started working at San Antonio’s Bexar County Hospital’s pediatric ICU unit, there was a noticeable increase in patient deaths. Specifically, the patients experienced uncontrollable bleeding, seizures or breathing problems. The probe zeroed in on Jones at one point because she was usually on duty when these incidents occurred.
With limited proof and fear of bad publicity, the hospital fired all vocational nurses and replaced them with registered nurses. However, Jones left with a glowing recommendation—which described her as “loyal, dependable, and trustworthy.”
The slain 15-month-old’s mother, Petti McClellan-Wiese and Andy Kahan, a victim’s advocate for the city of Houston, were working to locate other mothers whose children who fell victim to Jones. Kahan told CNN in 2013 that two mothers have stepped forward so far.
Additionally, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood told mySA.com last May that his office appointed a prosecutor to review old case files and interview ex-medical examiners and families of possible victims. However, he didn’t disclose specific allegations or charges against Jones due to an ongoing investigation.
“I absolutely believe she has killed more babies and we are looking for any legal and ethical way to hold her accountable. Period,” LaHood said at the time.
LaHood also pointed out that there is no statute of limitations for murder.
“We’re working hard to hopefully bring charges before she’s released,” he said.
“I don’t want this lady walking the streets. She deserves to die in prison and that would be our goal.”
[Featured Image: Texas Department of Criminal Justice]