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Convicted child killer Genene Jones asks San Antonio judge for Bible back

Elizabeth ZavalaMay 22, 2019

A judge Wednesday denied a motion to return personal property, including a Bible, to convicted child killer Genene Jones, who is accused in five deaths of San Antonio children in the 1980s.

Jones, 68, worked in the pediatric intensive care unit of what was later University Hospital in the early 1980s. She was convicted of murder in 1984 for killing Chelsea McClellan, 15 months, by injecting the toddler with a fatal dose of a muscle relaxer while the nurse worked in Kerr County. She was sentenced to 99 years in that case and received 60 years for a similar attempt on a San Antonio child who survived.

She was scheduled to be released from prison in March 2018 because of a new law aimed at reducing prison crowding, but in 2017, Jones was indicted in the deaths of five San Antonio children in the 1980s. She is being held in the Bexar County jail awaiting trial.

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On Wednesday, her attorney, Cornelius Cox, asked Judge Frank Castro to grant the return of an address book, her personal Bible, letters and personal documents. He said she had those items while in prison for 34 years, and questioned the seizure under former Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas “Nico” LaHood.

“They wanted to harass her and annoy her,” Cox told the court. “They took her Bible. Why did they remove that possession?”

But Catherine Babbitt, chief of major crimes for the DA’s Office, told Castro that personal writings contained in the Bible, in addition to other documents, showed “evidence” that Jones could read, write and has the ability to comprehend, considering Cox has questioned her competency.

“I recognize the importance of religious items, but I also recognize handwriting in the Bible that contains references to her own sin,” Babbitt told the court. “The state isn’t in the position to return documents that could be relevant to a competency trial or anything else.”

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Castro denied the motion and instructed the state to provide the defense with copies of all notes in the Bible and other documents.

Cox also withdrew another request for a psychiatric evaluation for Jones and asked Castro for a competency hearing, which the judge granted and said could happen either in August or September.

Jones is accused of killing Richard “Ricky” Nelson on July 3, 1981; Rosemary Vega on Sept. 16, 1981; Paul Villarreal on Sept. 24, 1981; Joshua Sawyer on Dec. 12, 1981; and Patrick Zavala on Jan. 17, 1982. All the children were injected with an overdose of either muscle relaxers or pain killers, court records indicate.

Elizabeth Zavala covers county and state courts in San Antonio. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | ezavala@express-news.net | Twitter: @elizabeth2863

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