Genene Jones was convicted in 1984 for the 1982 death of one child that was in her care and administering an overdose in another. At the time of her conviction there was a mandatory release law in place which meant she was scheduled to be released from prison in 2018. The mandatory release law has since been repealed.
In 2017 prosecutors re-opened her case and as a result, filed an additional five charges against her for deaths of children, between the ages of 3 months and 2 years old, caused either during her shifts or shortly thereafter. Authorities have stated that they believe she may be responsible for the deaths of up to 60 children between the 1970s and 1980s while she worked as a nurse.
Investigators have said that they believe she may have acted in order to prove a need for a pediatric intensive care unit at a nearby hospital, while others theorized that she administered the injections in order to show herself as some kind of miracle worker by then being able to take swift medical action to save the children. In the end though, they admit that they do not know her true motives.
“She is pure evil and justice warrants that she be held accountable for the crimes she committed,” former San Antonio District Attorney Nico LaHood said in a statement to PEOPLE in 2017, when she was charged with 11 month old Sawyer’s death (Joe Gonzales has since taken over as the district attorney). “Our Office will attempt to account for every child whose life was stolen by the actions of Jones. Our only focus is justice.”
Despite previous recordings of her during a 1998 prison interview where she reportedly told a parole officer, “I really did kill those babies,” Jones had previously entered a not guilty plea to the additional charges brought against her. On Thursday the 16th in a sudden reversal, she accepted a plea deal offered by the prosecution at the request of her attorney and changed her plea to guilty. She was sentenced to life in prison.
“With this plea, the odds are she will take her last breath in prison,” prosecutor Catherine Babbitt said after the hearing.
Jones will have to serve 20 years before she could possibly apply for parole. She would then be about 87 years old.
In response to the charges brought against her in 2017, a former cellmate wrote a letter to Prosecutor Jason Goss.
"She said that she did not want Genene to get parole, and that Genene told her, 'I didn't kill the babies, the voices in my head did,'" Goss said.
Before sentencing her, State Judge Frank Castro declared that Jones’ life sentence “doesn’t come close to what you did to these families and the tragedy that you caused. You took God’s little precious gift: babies, defenseless, innocent … I truly believe your ultimate judgment is in the next life.”
As a part of the plea deal, the additional four charges against her were dropped.
“If the parole board wants to deny her every time she comes up and keep her until she takes her dying breath, that’s their prerogative and our preference,” Babbitt said. “Why on earth would she be allowed to walk among us?”