‘Killer Nurse’ Genene Jones pleads guilty, gets life in prison

Judge: ‘You took God’s most precious gift, babies’


Convicted baby killer Genene Jones made a plea deal with prosecutors Thursday in connection with the death of a San Antonio baby and was sentenced to life in prison.

Jones pleaded guilty to the December 1981 death of 11-month-old Joshua Earl Sawyer. She was scheduled to go on trial next month in the murder case.

As part of the plea agreement, the remaining charges in the deaths of four other babies were dismissed. The agreement also allows for Jones to get her Bible back that was confiscated by prosecutors for use as evidence during the trial.

The plea deal “doesn’t come close to what you did to these families and the tragedies that you caused. You took God’s most precious gift, babies, defenseless babies,” District Judge Frank J. Castro said. "I’m going to follow this agreement that you agreed with your attorney and state. But I truly believe that your ultimate judgement is in the next life.”

Connie Weeks, the mother of Joshua Earl Sawyer, one of the babies killed by 'Killer Nurse' Genene Jones, delivers a victim impact statement in court. (KSAT)

Relatives of the babies who were killed by Jones were allowed to address her during what’s called a victim impact statement. One of them was Connie Weeks, Joshua’s mother.

“(We) are glad today that you will never see the day of light as a free woman and your life will end in captivity for killing my son, Joshua Earl Sawyer. So I will leave you with this: I hope for you to live a long and miserable life behind bars,” Weeks said.

Rosemary Vega Cantu, the mother of Rosemary Vega, one of the babies believed to be killed by Genene Jones, delivers a victim's impact statement at Jones' hearing. (KSAT)

Rosemary Vega Cantu, the mother of Rosemary Vega, said to Jones, “I waited 38 years of my life to tell you I will never forgive you. You changed my life and my family. I trusted you. I trusted you with my daughter. I pray to God you never come out to hurt no more babies in the world. I can’t believe you’re still asking for a Bible.”

Melissa Luna (pictured, center), addressed "Killer Nurse" Genene Jones during a hearing where Jones pleaded guilty. (KSAT)

Melissa Luna, sister of Paul Villarreal, who died when he was 3 months old, also represented Richard Ricky Nelson, who died when he was 8 months old.

“Neither one of them made it to their first birthday because you made a decision to take their lives. You’re too much of a cold-blooded monster to begin to empathize and realize what hell these mothers have been through. Having to live and go on without their children.

"And now, just like my mom knew, just like all these mothers knew, that their children were murdered and didn’t just suddenly die. The whole world will know they were right. They also know the coward that you are for taking those innocent lives. I can leave here with a smile on my face, because although my brother is in a box, I know he will take your last pathetic breath.”

Kylie McClellan, the sister of Chelsea McClellan, was the fourth and final relative to address Jones. McClellan spoke on behalf of her mother, Petti McClellan-Wiese, who is now deceased.

“Forty years have gone by since you took my baby’s life and I hate you for that. I often wonder how a person can sleep at night after taking someone’s baby’s life. You must have a very large, black heart. At this point, I’m not saying that I forgive you, but there’s only one person you must answer to, and that is God. I don’t wish you death, but I do want you to stay locked up for the remainder of your days. I feel like a big burden has been lifted off of my shoulder, finding justice for our babies.”

Kylie McClellan, the sister of Chelsea McClellan, who is believed to have been killed by "Killer Nurse" Genene Jones, addresses Jones during a hearing where Jones pleaded guilty. (KSAT)

You can view the entire hearing in the video below.


Jones, called the “Killer Nurse,” was scheduled to stand trial Feb. 10 in the death of a San Antonio baby who died under mysterious circumstances at an area hospital where she worked as a nurse in the 1980s.

The plea deal will not be final until Jones signs the agreement and Judge Frank J. Castro accepts the deal. She is appearing in the 399th state District Court.

Judge denies ‘Killer Nurse’ request to have Bible returned

Defense attorney Cornelius Cox told KSAT 12 News that she had been discussing a plea agreement with the Bexar County District Attorney’s office.

“We’re still working to resolve the case, either by way by of a trial or by way of some other type of resolution,” he said.

He refused to give details of those resolutions.

Mother dies before seeing infant son’s accused killer stand trial

Jones served about 30 years in prison for killing a Kerrville child by injecting her with a lethal dose of a muscle relaxant in 1984.

Before Jones was released from prison, she was indicted in the five new cases.

Jones is being held in the Bexar County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail in each of the cases.

About the Authors

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

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