The Houston area (and, really, the nation) was horrified this week after a woman allegedly shot a young mother and kidnapped her newborn son in a parking lot in front of a pediatric clinic.
Verna McClain, a thirty-year-old nurse who recently miscarried, has been charged with capital murder in Kala Schuchardt’s death. If she is guilty of this crime, she would join the ranks of three other killer nurses from Texas.
1. Vickie Dawn Jackson of Nocona General Hospital
Who can forget Nocona’s Angel of Death? TEXAS MONTHLY‘s Skip Hollandsworth chronicled Vickie Dawn Jackson’s crimes in July 2007. Her method? She injected patients with mivacurium chloride, stopping their lungs. Jackson, convicted of killing ten patients, is suspected in the deaths of ten others and the attempted murder of five. She killed townspeople she knew, including her husband’s grandfather. Jackson is serving a life sentence in Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Crain unit in Gatesville and is not eligible for parole until 2042, according to the TDCJ website.
2. Kimberly Saenz of DaVita Dialysis center in Lufkin
Earlier this month, a Lufkin jury convicted Kimberly Saenz of killing five dialysis patients and injuring three others by injecting them with bleach. Saenz escaped the death penalty, receiving a life without parole sentence instead. “You are nothing more than a psychopathic serial killer,” Wanda Hollingsworth, the daughter of one of the victims, said at Saenz’s sentencing hearing. “I hope you burn in hell.” After Saenz was convicted, Jessica Cooley of the Lufkin Daily News penned a detailed story about the day she was caught.
3. Genene Jones of Bexar County Hospital and a Kerrville pediatrician’s office.
In the October 1981, someone noticed that babies in the ICU were dying in disproportionate numbers during Genene Jones’s overnight shift at Bexar County Hospital. Jones was investigated by the hospital, which offered to shuffle her to another part of the hospital. Instead, she quit and found a job with a Kerrville pediatrician. In the next month, eight babies at the pediatrician’s office quickly and mysteriously fell ill. Ultimately, Jones is believed to have killed somewhere from 11 to 46 infants and children. She killed the infants by injecting them with lethal doses of various drugs including, heparin, a blood thinner or a succinylcholine chloride, a paralytic drug that impairs lung function.
Back in 1983, Peter Elkind detailed Jones’s crimes in a 21,000-word piece for TEXAS MONTHLY aptly titled “The Death Shift.” While Jones received a l99-year sentence for her crimes, she will be paroled in 2017 due to a “mandatory release” law. “The harsh reality is that Genene Jones will be this state’s and probably this country’s first serial killer ever to be legally released, period. And sometime in 2017, unless we come up with a miracle,” Andy Kahan, victim advocate, told KHOU last year.