PLATTSBURG, Mo. — There’s been a plea deal in the case of Jennifer Hall, the former Chillicothe respiratory therapist accused of killing two patients while she worked at the Hedrick Medical Center 21 years ago.
Hall plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter instead of murder charges Friday.
She plead guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Fern Franco and another count of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Coval Gann.
Involuntary manslaughter is a lesser charge than the first-degree murder charges she originally faced.
In the Clinton County courtroom, Hall also pleaded guilty to attempted assault. As part of the agreement, no other charges will be filed against her from her time at the hospital.
Hall worked at the center for less than a year, from December 2001 to May 2002. Court documents say there were an alarmingly high number of code blues, or cardiac arrests, when Hall was there. Of the 18 code blues during that time, nine of those patients died.
“It was part of a plea agreement where she would agree to admit her conduct in poisoning these patients,” Livingston County Prosecutor Adam Warren told FOX4 Friday. “I would agree to lower the count to a reckless death as opposed to an intentional one.”
The attempted assault plea has to do with Norma Pearson, a woman who actually survived being a patient at the center. She died, though, in 2011. Besides Franco and Gann, seven other patients died of cardiac collapse in Hall’s short stint at the center.
“I’ve met with some of the families already,” Warren said when asked what he should say to the families of the other patients who died 21 years ago. “What I did tell them was that each case has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some of these cases, the witnesses are dead.”
Warren said Hall could serve up to 18 years in prison. She’s currently 42 years old, and her case had been moved out of Livingston County and into Clinton County. Warren said he’s had a few sleepless nights charging Hall in crimes that were committed before he was even the prosecutor.
“Just like you asked me the question, is 18 years justice? Well, that question haunts me and has haunted me for this entire year,” he continued.
“What’s justice in this situation? But what’s justice in this situation where Jennifer Hall walks free in an acquittal for some issue of an old case. That’s haunted me, too.”
Hall’s attorney would not comment to FOX4 on Friday. Her sentencing date has not been set yet. Warren said it will likely take place sometime in June.