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Ex Respiratory Therapist From Missouri Charged With Murder In Death Of Patient 20 Years Ago

Jennifer Hall, a former Missouri respiratory therapist put on leave after nine patients died in her care in 2001 and 2002, has previously denied allegations from former colleagues that she was a serial killer. She's now been charged with the death of her final patient, Fern Franco.

By Gina Tron
A police hand out of Jennifer Hall

After two decades of denying that she is a serial killer, a respiratory therapist has now been charged in connection with one of the nine Missouri hospital deaths that sparked such rumors.

The Livingston County prosecutor filed a murder charge last week against Jennifer Hall, 41, in connection with the death of 75-year-old Fern Franco, KMBC reports.

Hall was arrested on Thursday in Kansas and charged with first-degree murder, according to the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. In her booking photos, she was wearing a sweatshirt with a Care Bear on it that seems to read, "I Don't F--ing Care."

Franco was one of nine people who died mysteriously between 2001 and 2002 at Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, Missouri — about 80 miles northwest of Kansas City — where Hall had worked as a respiratory therapist. Staff members accused Hall of injecting the people who died with the drug succinylcholine, which would have caused them to suffocate, charging documents obtained by KCTV claim. While she was working at the hospital, the rate of cardiac collapse incidents “rose alarmingly,” according to the documents.

Hall was put on leave after Franco's death.

She denied the claims in 2012 in an interview with KMBC.

"It's shocking to know that somebody can think something so horrible of you and the real truth is out there somewhere," Hall told the outlet at the time.

Her lawyer Matt O'Connor spoke to KMBC about the death of Franco this week.

"What they miss is the substance that was found in the decedent's body — succinylcholine and morphine — Miss Hall did not have access to,” he told the outlet. “That would be something that only somebody doing surgery or something like that would have access to, that's heavily guarded, usually a code machine, something like that."

However, charging documents claim Hall is allegedly responsible “because of her proximity to patients, access to pharmaceuticals and her discovery of every patient’s cardiac emergency.”

O’Connor claimed that his client is currently sick from leukemia.

“She’s not on the run or a dangerous criminal," O’Connor told KCTV. "She’s been leading a normal suburban life for the last 20 years.”

Franco's granddaughter, Aprille Franco, told People, "I hope this will make it to trial, and if she's not the one responsible, I hope they dig deeper into who is responsible."

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