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Respiratory Therapist Accused of Getting Away With 7 Murders Injected Her Patients With Muscle Relaxant, Suffocated Them, Authorities Claim

respiratory therapist missouri accused killing patients

May 5 2023, Published 6:13 p.m. ET

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After years of suspicion surrounding her involvement in the deaths of nine patients at a Missouri hospital, a former respiratory therapist, who was believed to be a serial killer, admitted to killing two of those patients decades ago.

According to People, defense attorney Molly Hastings said her client Jennifer Anne Hall pleaded guilty, as part of a plea agreement, to two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths of Fern Franco and Coval Gann.

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Hall also pleaded guilty to one count of attempted assault in the death of Norma Pearson, People reported.

The three victims all died in 2002 at Hendrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, officials said.

Originally, Hall, 42, was charged with first-degree murder for the deaths of Franco, 75, and David Wesley Harper. However, the charges involving Harper, 37, were dismissed and no other charges will be filed against Hall regarding this investigation, according to Hastings.

Prosecutors accused Hall of killing Harper more than 20 years ago, according to charging documents. Records show Hall did this by “administering unprescribed pharmaceuticals to him” while he was in the hospital, which caused him to suffocate.

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In May 2022, Hall was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Franco. She pleaded not guilty, People reported.

Hall was employed at Hendrick Medical Center for five months between 2001 and 2002. During that time, 18 “cardiac collapse” incidents took place, with nine of those incidents resulting in death, prosecutors said.

Hospital staff started to suspect Hall was connected to them, as the rate of cardiac collapse cases “rose alarmingly” and staff viewed them as “medically suspicious,” according to People.

Court records state staff members suspected Hall had been injecting patients with succinylcholine, a drug that paralyzed their diaphragms and caused them to suffocate.

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Prosecutors said, "Because of Hall's singular proximity to stricken patients, her access to pharmaceuticals which are deadly if misused, and her discovery of, and method of notifying staff of every patient's cardiac emergency, nursing staff believed Hall was responsible for the patient deaths," according to People.

Hall is to be sentenced at a later date.


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