'Killer Nurse' Genene Jones deemed competent to stand trial

Defense granted second mental test; both sides willing to consider plea deal

By Paul Venema - Reporter, David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor

SAN ANTONIO - Genene Jones, 67, the so-called "Killer Nurse," is competent to stand trial in the deaths of five infants, according to the results of a mental health evaluation released Thursday by Criminal Magistrate Judge Andrew Carruthers.

Jones was indicted last year in the deaths that occurred while the infants were in her care at local hospitals in the early 80s.

Cornelius Cox, Jones' attorney, asked for and was granted permission to have his client evaluated by another doctor.

"In these types of cases, it's not unusual to get a second opinion," Cox said.

Jones was convicted In 1984 and sentenced to life in prison for the 1982 death of a 15-month-old Kerrville child who died after being injected with a powerful muscle relaxant while in Jones' care.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said that he is prepared to try the latest cases.

"We are ready to go forward with what we believe to be the strongest cases," Gonzales said.

As for a possible plea agreement, he said, "Certainly, everything is on the table, but we will not go forward with any sort of plea bargain, offer or agreement without having the families involved."

Cox also said that a plea deal could be an option.

"We're always open to any of the possibilities," he said.

But Gonzales said until the second evaluation is completed, a plea deal cannot be considered.

"She's got to be competent enough to understand the consequences of a plea agreement," he said.

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