A nurse who is suspected in a possible 46 child murders between 1978 and 1982, is set to be released from prison on February 24, 2018. Genene Anne Jones, now 63, was convicted in the murder of 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan in 1984. The state of Texas handed down a 99-year prison sentence for Jones, a nurse in a pediatric clinic.
The prosecutor in the case, Ron Sutton, estimates that Jones killed between 11 and 46 children in Bexar County from 1978 to 1982, an estimation he got from the police themselves. Sutton says he was present as they were adding the numbers up during their investigation. In addition to the clinic, Jones had also worked at a hospital in Bexar County.
A 1977 Texas law that calls for the “mandatory release of inmates with good behavior” will now set the infamous baby killer free. (In 1987 that law was modified to prevent criminals with “violent convictions” from being released early. However, as Jones was convicted before the amendment, she was “grandfathered” in to the clause.)
Obviously, Petti McClellan, Chelsea’s mother, is greatly opposed to Jones’ release. She recounted the day Chelsea died to ABC News. (In Chelsea’s death, Genene Jones injected the toddler with a deadly dose of succinylcholine, a muscle relaxer.) “I was holding Chelsea, she was facing me, and Jones gave her the first shot in her left thigh. Immediately Chelsea had trouble breathing. Chelsea was trying to say my name, but she couldn’t. I was extremely upset.”
And any mother can see why. It is not only unfathomable that such a monster could exist, but now, that that person will be released from prison. Petti McClellan says, “Just the idea of a serial killer walking free in the United States of America is the craziest thing I have ever heard of.” She later added, “I truly feel it in my heart that this is something I have to do. How does it make me different from her if I don’t do anything?”
However, not just because of the “mandatory release” clause will prosecutors have their work cut out for them; to try Jones for more crimes would be ideal…if only they still had those old records.
According to Andy Kahan, a victim’s advocate from the mayor’s office in Houston, any possible records of infants or children who died while in Jones’ care have been “destroyed or lost” from the places where she worked.
If Jones is released she will have only served 35 of the 99 years she was sentenced to; in addition, Jones was given 60 more years in the attempted killing of another child who survived. In Texas, she was able to serve her time for that crime concurrently with the aforementioned 99 years.
Sadly, Petti McClellan is now forced to face the fact that Jones may very well walk free. The only way to prevent Jones from getting out of prison, according to Andy Kahan, is by finding another family whose child died by Jones’ hand. He says, “We need to find another case, another victim, whose death we can charge her with sufficient evidence.”
As of right now, there are no other families who have come forward with that evidence. Hopefully for Petti McClellan, some type of miracle will occur to ensure that Chelsea’s death was not in vain, and that the person solely responsible for her death will never have a chance to do the same thing to another child.