Baby killer to be released after serving nearly third of sentence due to abolished law

Genene Jones, a former Central Texas nurse, was sentenced to 99 years for the 1982 murder of 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan, who died from an overdose of a muscle relaxant.
July 25, 2013 4:45:28 PM PDT
It was one of the most horrific cases ever seen in the state of Texas; a woman suspected in the deaths of dozens of children in the 80's. But shockingly, Genene Jones will soon be released from prison, after serving less than a third of her sentence. Now the family of one of her young victims is fighting back to make sure that just doesn't happen.

In 1977, a Texas law was enacted to deal with prison overcrowding. Prisoners who received time off for good behavior, even for serious crimes, were released early. Now for the first time ever, that law is about to set a serial killer free.

In 1982, Petti McClellan-Wiese's 15-month-old daughter Chelsea was murdered by Jones. The nurse injected the little girl with a fatal dose of the paralytic drug succinylcholine, causing the toddler to stop breathing.

"You've got a baby killer on your hands," McClellan-Wiese said. "She had enough succinylcholine to sedate 10 men weighing 150 pounds, so she never had a chance. She never had a chance."

Chelsea saw Jones at a pediatric clinic in Kerrville, where Jones is believed to have killed six children. Jones is credited with the murders of a total of 50 babies, the majority while working a her previous nursing job at Bexar County Hospital.

Prosecutors went after her for Chelsea's murder and the injury to another baby who nearly bled to death after she injected him with the blood thinner heparin.

Jones was sentenced to 99 years. She has served just 28, and in three years, she will walk out of prison.

"She will be the first serial killer legally released in this country's history," Houston crime victims advocate Andy Kahan said.

Jones is getting out thanks to a mandatory release law that was in effect to reduce prison overcrowding at the time she was convicted.

Kahan says people need to understand that under this law, there are no exceptions.

"She will be -- there is no if ands or buts -- there is no discretion," he said.

After burying her baby, Wiese testified at Jones trial she expected a life sentence to be a life sentence.

"The fact that anybody is going to allow this to happen, it just has got to be stopped," she said.

It's important to note that the parole board can do nothing to stop Jones' release. It has no discretion due to this mandatory release law in effect here, even though the law was later abolished in 1995.

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