Victims rally to keep convicted baby killer in prison
Several Texas mothers and victims rights advocates are intensifying their efforts to try to keep a convicted baby killer from being released from prison.
In 1985, Genene Anne Jones was sentenced to 99 years in prison for murdering a Kerrville baby and injuring another child.
Jones was sentenced to 99 years in prison but according to state records, she is scheduled to be released in Feb. 2018.
"What's at stake here is basically you're going to have the first serial killer in this country's history to be legally released and she's about as cold blooded, diabolical individual as you can get," said Andy Kahan, head of the Houston Police Department's Victims Rights Office. "Wherever she went, death followed."
Since Local 2 Investigates first reported this story in April, several mothers have come forward to demand action before Jones' release. A Facebook page, "Victims of Genene Anne Jones," has also been created.
"Healthy, happy baby," said Marina Rodriguez. "He was a preemie but he came through."
Rodriguez was just 15 years old when she gave birth to Feliciano. Rodriguez said when her son was five months old she took him to a San Antonio clinic for his immunizations. Rodriguez said she remembered on that day in 1981 Jones was the nurse who gave her son his shot. Rodriguez said her son's reaction to the shot was immediate.
"Gasping for air and just turning blue," said Rodriguez. "He goes into cardiac arrest right there in the office."
Rodriguez said her son died a few days later. Rodriguez said she always suspected something sinister happened to her son, but her suspicions were ignored. Rodriguez said at the time she was young, illiterate and the daughter of migrant farmers.
"I knew, I knew, I knew that it wasn't an accident. I knew something was wrong and that's what I kept saying even when I was 15," said Rodriguez.
Years later, Rodriguez found justification for her suspicions when Jones was arrested and charged with murdering Chelsea McClellan. Jones was working as a pediatric nurse in Kerrville when she intentionally gave McClellan an overdose of muscle relaxants.
"Losing a child is something you never get over, you just learn to cope," said Petti McClellan-Wiese during an interview with Local 2 in April.
McClellan-Wiese said the lethal dose came when Jones was supposedly giving her daughter her immunizations.
"I don't know how anybody could ever hurt a child," said McClellan-Wiese.
Jones was also charged with giving another boy an overdose of blood thinners. However, Rolando Santos survived.
"I don't think she should come out," said Santos. "I mean she killed all these babies."
During the investigation into these cases investigators also linked Jones to the deaths of between 11 and 46 other babies. Those deaths occurred while Jones worked as a pediatric nurse at the now shuttered Bexar County hospital. However, investigators said just as the investigation into the deaths was taking shape the hospital shredded thousands of pounds of records regarding the children's deaths.
Dr. Vincent Di Maio, who was the Bexar County medical examiner at the time, said none of the deaths was ever reported to his office as would have been protocol.
"There were no autopsies or even records for us to go back and look at," said Di Maio. "It was incredibly frustrating."
As a result Jones was only convicted of murdering McLellan and injury to a child in Santos' case. Jones was sentenced to 99 years in prison for McClellan's murder and 60 years for Santos' injuries. Both sentences were ordered to be served concurrently.
"Nobody was ever told that when Genene Jones got 99 years in 1985 that she would one day, legally, be free," said Kahan.
Jones was sentenced under a now defunct Texas law meant to ease prison overcrowding. When Jones was convicted the law allowed violent offenders to shorten the time they are required to stay in prison by accruing so-called "good time." Texas has since banned this practice for violent offenders.
"Good behavior, where does that come in? There's no babies in prison," said Rodriguez. "I said, 'What about Feliciano, what about the other mommies?' What, we don't matter?"
Rodriguez said she didn't even learn about the other children's deaths until she received a visit from two attorneys who told her that her son's case was part of a civil lawsuit against the hospital involving several families.
"When those guys came and found me and said, 'you know what we've been looking for you a long time, you were right, your son was murdered,'" said Rodriguez.
The case was settled out of court.
When Joneses' impending release came to light several mothers, like Rodriguez, have come forward to demand that investigators take another look at all the cases linked to Jones.
"No one has even bothered to have a second look at her. That's what we're doing right now, making sure that there is a second look," said Kahan.
Houston-area Congressman Ted Poe has also joined the chorus of voices demanding more work be done before Jones is released from prison.
"We build prisons in Texas to house baby killers and she is a baby killer," said Poe.
Kahan said in the coming weeks he will file a formal request with the Bexar and Kerr County District Attorneys Offices to re-open all the cases involving Jones.
"All we need is one other case to prosecute her on to keep her in prison," said Kahan.
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