‘Killer Nurse’ Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of Baby Boy

FILE - This 2017 file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Genene Jones. Jones, a former nurse who prosecutors believe could be responsible for the deaths of up to 60 Texas children. State District Judge Frank Castro on Monday, September 9, 2019 scheduled a January 2020 …
Texas Department of Criminal Justice. via AP

A former nurse who allegedly murdered dozens of children plead guilty and was sentenced to life in prison Thursday in San Antonio, Texas, for murdering a baby boy in 1981.

Genene Jones, 69, appeared in court wearing a blue jail uniform and entered a plea deal to avoid a trial for the murder of Joshua Sawyer, according to WGN 9.

“Ms. Jones, something has to be said for you taking the plea to life on this murder,” said District Judge Frank J. Castro, adding, “But it doesn’t come close to what you did to these families and the tragedies that you caused. You took God’s most precious gift — babies, defenseless, innocent.”

“But I truly believe that your ultimate judgment is in the next life,” he concluded.

At the time of the deaths, Jones, also known as the “killer nurse,” worked at Bexar County Hospital, which is now University Hospital, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The report continued:

She had served about a third of her original sentence and was eligible to be released from prison in 2018, but in 2017 she was newly indicted in the deaths of Richard “Ricky” Nelson on July 3, 1981; Rosemary Vega on Sept. 16, 1981; Paul Villarreal on Sept. 24, 1981; Joshua Sawyer on Dec. 12, 1981; and Patrick Zavala on Jan. 17, 1982. All were patients at the hospital and ranged in age from 3 months to 2 years.

In 2017, former Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood said evidence showed Jones killed Sawyer by administering a lethal dose of Dilantin.

LaHood also noted that his office suspected Jones in the deaths of nearly 60 children when she was employed as a nurse in the San Antonio area.

“During that time, pediatric units showed a sharp spike in infant deaths during the shifts Jones worked.”

In a 1998 interview, she reportedly admitted to the murders, according to Texas Monthly.

“I really did kill those babies,” Jones told a parole officer.

As part of the plea deal Thursday, Jones faced the family members of the children she allegedly murdered while they held up photographs of their deceased loved ones.

“You should have to serve one year for every year of life you robbed from the babies that you murdered,” said Joshua’s mother, Connie Weeks.

“Although that’s not possible, you should definitely serve the remainder of your life in prison for the babies lives that you have shortened,” she said.

In a statement, Catherine Babbitt, chief of major crimes with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, said the victims “were not only children, but they were often critically ill children, and for her to decide on her watch who lived and who died is nothing short of evil.”

“The odds are that she will take her last breath in prison,” Babbitt concluded.

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