Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fifth Murder Charge Added to "Angel of Death" Case

Posted By on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 4:30 PM

  • Texas Department of Justice
  • Genene Jones
In the past six months, a Bexar County grand jury has issued five separate indictments to former nurse Genene Jones for the alleged murders of five children nearly 40 years ago.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood announced the latest indictment against Jones, the 66-year-old woman dubbed the "Angel of Death" for the number of children that suspiciously died under her watch as a pediatric nurse. This new decision charges Jones with the murder of Paul Villarreal, a 3-month-old boy who died on September 24, 1981. Villarreal died days after undergoing an elective skull surgery at the Bexar County Hospital (now University Hospital), according to reporting by Peter Elkind, an investigative journalist who wrote a book on Jones' murders. After his surgery, Villarreal was moved to recover in the pediatric ICU, where he was put under Jones' care. He died after having a seizure and bleeding profusely — lab tests showed he had problems with clotting.

LaHood did not explain what evidence his office used to convince the grand jury that Jones killed Villarreal (his go-to line: "We don't try cases in the court of public opinion").

Jones is already serving time in federal prison for the death of Chelsea McClellan, a 1-year-old who Jones injected with a powerful muscle relaxant instead of routine baby shots in 1983. But because of a 1977 law granting all inmates a dramatically reduced sentence for good behavior, Jones is up for parole on March 1, 2018, 65 years before her original release date. While that law was changed in 1996 — to allow officials to block certain offenders from being eligible for this rule — it can't be applied retroactively. Meaning that unless she's charged with a new crime, there's little keeping Jones from walking free.

Which is why in 2014, LaHood's office began investigating other cases of infants dying under her care decades ago. And Villarreal's death may not be the last of the new charges — LaHood told reporters Tuesday that the case remains an open investigation.

Jones is set to be extradited to Bexar County Jail in late November to prepare for her trial.

"We'll do our best to make sure she takes her last breath behind bars," LaHood said.

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