A former Texas nurse serving a 99-year sentence for killing a child and suspected in the poisoning deaths of dozens more has been indicted on a new charge of murdering a toddler 35 years ago.
Genene Jones, 66, was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday in the September 1981 death of 2-year-old Rosemary Vega, according to the Bexar County Prosecutor’s Office. The indictment comes a month after Jones was indicted in the December 1981 killing of 11-month-old Joshua Sawyer, who was injected with a toxic dose of the anti-seizure drug Dilantin.
Law enforcers are focusing fresh attention on the killer nurse because a 1970s state law aimed at easing prison overcrowding mandates that she be freed on parole in March 2018. Murder has no statute of limitations, so authorities formed a task force to reinvestigate killings that weren’t pursued decades ago.
“She is pure evil and justice warrants that she be held accountable for the crimes she committed,” District Attorney Nico LaHood said in May. “Our Office will attempt to account for every child whose life was stolen by the actions of Jones. Our only focus is justice.”
The grand jury on Wednesday recommended Jones’ bond be set at $1 million to ensure she will remain behind bars pending trial on the new charges.
“Prior to her mandatory release, she will be extradited back to Bexar County where she will await trial for the new charges,” LaHood said Wednesday.
Jones “is suspected of killing up to 60” children while working as a licensed vocational nurse at pediatric clinics during the 1970s and early ’80s, LaHood said in March.
In 1984, Jones was convicted of the 1982 murder of 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan, and the attempted murder of 18-month Rolando Jones. Both children, authorities said, had been injected with potent drugs.
Prosecutors presented evidence at trial showing six children in Jones’ care were beset with unexplained seizures, according to the Dallas Morning News. Investigators theorized she intended the children to suffer distress so that she could resuscitate them and look like a hero.
Jones, who denied any wrongdoing, was sentenced to 99 years behind bars.
Investigators said there were marked increases in child deaths at facilities where Jones worked. Nevertheless, authorities at the time did not pursue additional charges against her. In many of the cases, medical records are no longer available.
The district attorney, citing ” continuing investigations,” declined to share additional details.
Jones was rumored to be the inspiration behind horror writer Stephen King’s bestselling novel Misery.
In 1991, Jones’ nephew was caught breaking into King’s home in Maine in a failed effort to persuade the writer to help with a sequel to Misery. The nephew was sentenced to two years’ probation.
Jones, serving time at the Murray Unit in Gatesville, did not respond to a message sent to her prison email Wednesday.