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A Texas nurse who pled guilty to injecting an infant with a deadly dose of anti-seizure drugs in the '80s will likely spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Genene Jones, nicknamed by local media the "angel of death," was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 16 for the overdose death of Joshua Sawyer in 1981, prosecutors said.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” Bexar County Assistant District Attorney Samantha DiMaio told Oxygen.com.
DiMaio said the decision will ensure that Jones takes “her last breath in prison.” Jones, 69, will be in her late eighties by the time she’s eligible for parole, she said.
“I’m glad that you will never see daylight,” Connie Weeks, Sawyer’s mother, told Jones, standing just steps away from her child’s killer, Texas Monthly reported. “I hope you live a long and miserable life behind bars.”
Jones was charged with administering a lethal dose of Dilantin to Sawyer, an indictment obtained by Oxygen.com shows. The drug, also known as Phenytoin, is an anti-seizure medication, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The infant had been brought to a county hospital in San Antonio on Dec. 8, 1981, following a fire at the child’s home. He went into cardiac arrest and died four days later.
DiMaio said the child had more than twice the toxic level of the drug in his system.
The prosecutor said Jones, who got a “thrill” from poisoning babies in her care, was also convicted in 1984 for overdosing another newborn and gravely injuring another, according to court records. Jones was previously serving a life sentence for the 1982 death of 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan, who died after Jones gave her a lethal injection of the muscle relaxant succinylcholine. Jones was also convicted in 1984 for nearly killing infant Rolando Santos with blood-thinner drugs.
The infant overdoses occurred while Jones was employed at a hospital in San Antonio and later at a pediatric clinic in Kerrville, Texas between 1979 and 1982. In 1998, while serving time for the death of 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan, Jones met with her parole officer — and made a startling confession, prosecutors said.
“Genene was about to leave the room, she stops at the door, she turns around, she sits back down… and she tells the parole officer, ‘By the way I killed those babies,’” DiMaio stated.
Jones also allegedly spoke of killing babies with other inmates while incarcerated, DiMaio said. The revelations led to charges being pressed against Jones in Sawyer’s death. Jones, who was scheduled to be released on parole in 2018 following now-repealed legislation designed to eliminate prison overcrowding, was indicted in Sawyer’s fatal overdose, roughly a year before she was released.
Officials suspect that Jones may have killed or harmed dozens of other babies during her time as a nurse.
“Everyone knows Chelsea wasn't the only one,” Petti McClellan, the mother of Chelsea McClellan, told the San Antonio Express-News in 2013. “Not even close.”
DiMaio, the Bexar County prosecutor, also suspected that Jones left other victims in her wake.
“As to how many, we’ll never know,” DiMaio said. “Let’s just say a lot. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the extent. There’s a lot of children — too many.”
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