Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Genene Jones, a former nurse convicted and imprisoned for killing a child in her care nearly 40 years ago, will now likely die in lockup after she pleaded guilty to the death of another toddler.
Jones entered the plea Thursday in a San Antonio courtroom and was sentenced to life in prison for the death of 11-month-old Joshua Sawyer, to whom she administered an overdose of drugs in 1981. The child ultimately died, but Jones wasn't tried for his death until prosecutors introduced new evidence three years ago.
Jones, 69, had been scheduled for release in 2018, under mandatory law in effect at the time of her first conviction, but the new case and subsequent conviction mean she'll now likely die in prison. As part of a plea deal, four other charges in the Sawyer case were dropped.
Known as Texas' "killer nurse," Jones was given a 99-year sentence for killing 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan in 1982, but she was set for release as part of an old law intended to reduce prison overcrowding.
Jones was once suspected of killing as many as 60 infants in her care from 1977 to 1982.
"You should have to serve one year for every year of life you robbed from the babies that you murdered," Sawyer's mother Connie Weeks said in court during Thursday's sentencing. "I hope for you to live a long and miserable life behind bars."
"Something has to be said for you taking the plea to life on this murder," District Judge Frank J. Castro added. "It doesn't come close to what you did to these families, the tragedies that you caused.
"You took one of God's most precious gifts, a baby. Defenseless. Innocent. I truly believe your ultimate judgment is in the next life."
Catherine Babbitt, the Bexar County DA's chief of major crimes, said Jones won't face a parole board for at least 20 years.