Texas nurse Genene Jones, a suspect in the murder of up to sixty children, has been indicted for two murders, both of which date to 1981. The New York Times reports that Jones was indicted in Bexar County in the deaths of 2-year-old Rosemary Vega and 11-month-old Joshua Sawyer. According to the Bexar County District Attorney, injected Sawyer with a “toxic level” of an anti-seizure drug while she worked at a county-run hospital.
The 66-year-old Jones is already serving two concurrent prison sentences in Gatesville, Texas. In 1984, she was sentenced to 99 years in state prison for the 1982 murder of toddler Chelsea McClellan. That same year, another jury sentenced her to 60 years for the injury 4-week-old of Rolando Santos. Like Sawyer, Santos was injected with unnecessary drugs, in this case, a blood thinner. Jones was scheduled to be released from prison in March 2018, the result of mandatory release laws that were active when she was convicted.
Jones’s 1984 trial inevitably garnered heavy media coverage. Dubbed “the killer nurse,” or the “angel of death,” the details of her crimes were lurid enough to draw tabloid coverage and the eventual NBC movie-of-the-week. Part of what drove the coverage was a simple fact: Jones has never provided any motive and she has instead maintained her innocence. What’s clear, however, is that during her nearly decade of nursing in San Antonio and throughout Texas, numerous children died in similar circumstances. Though fellow nurses were suspicious of Jones, calling her time on duty the “death shift,” nothing was done. Instead, Jones bounced from hospital to hospital, armed with a recommendation letter from a wary employer who had let Jones go, that described her as “dependable and trustworthy.”
Prosecutors were motivated to reexamine her case when it became clear that she would be released from prison. “It was unconscionable that she was suspected of up to 60 murders, and everyone felt they could not do anything,” Bexar County district attorney Nicholas LaHood told the Times. According to the District Attorney, these charges stem from previously uncovered evidence. Earlier this month, Texas Monthly and ProPublica published a story in which Rosemary Vega’s mother claims that she witnessed Jones “push a drug into her daughter’s IV line shortly before she went into cardiac arrest.”
Prior to her March 2018 release, Jones will be extradited to Bexar County where she will await trial. Her bond is set at $1 million.