The pediatric nurse who inspired Stephen King's novel "Misery" by killing dozens of young children is to be released after serving only 35 years because of a Texas state law granting mandatory release to inmates with good behavior.
Genene Jones was sentenced to 99 years in jail in May 1984 for murdering 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan in a pediatric clinic in Kerrville near San Antonio.
She was also convicted of injuring another child in a separate attack which the victim survived. She was sentenced to 60 years on that conviction, but the judge ordered it to be served concurrently with the 99-year sentence.
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Jones, now 63, was suspected of killing up to 45 other children. It is believed she injected them to bring on a medical crisis in the hope that she could revive them and then be praised for her actions.
Now Jones is to go free because at the time of her conviction Texas had a law making it mandatory for inmates with good behavior to get early release. The law was changed in 1987 to exclude violent offenders, but still covers anyone convicted before that.
Jones is set to be released in February 2018. But that angers victim Chelsea's mother Petti.
"Just the thought of a serial killer walking free in the United States of America is the craziest thing I have ever heard of," Petti McClellan told ABC News
McClellan said her daughter died just after Jones injected her. "I was holding Chelsea, she was facing me, and Jones gave her the first shot in her left thigh. Immediately Chelsea had trouble breathing. Chelsea was trying to say my name, but she couldn't."
Jones then began shooting a lethal dose of muscle relaxant into the baby's body, according to court records.
Ron Sutton, the criminal prosecutor who won the murder conviction, estimates that Jones is responsible for the deaths of between 11 and 46 infants between 1978 and 1982.
King based his "Misery" character Annie Wilkes on Jones, according to Rob Reiner, who directed the movie based on the book. Kathy Bates won a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Wilkes.
McClellan and others opposed to Jones' release are now trying to find the parents of more victims in a bid to push for a fresh murder prosecution in order to ensure Jones stays in prison.
They have started a Facebook group
called "Victims of Genene Anne Jones."
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