CHILLICOTHE, Mo. (WDAF) — A former respiratory therapist accused of murdering a hospital patient two decades ago pleaded not guilty and argued she should be granted bail during a hearting Thursday.
The attorney for 41-year-old Jennifer Anne Hall argued a judge should set bail for Hall because doctors diagnosed her with leukemia. She is scheduled to begin the third round of chemotherapy next week and plans to stay with her parents.
Hall’s attorney also argued that she isn’t a flight risk because she didn’t flee when she was originally accused of the crimes in 2012.
Prosecutors argued Hall’s request for bail should be denied because she currently has two open cases against her. She is charged with identity theft in Kansas and faces theft charges in Florida. The prosecutor argued the combination of charges shows she could be a flight risk.
The judge set a bond reduction hearing for May 27.
Hall is charged with first-degree murder in the 2002 death of Fern Franco. Franco had been hospitalized at Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe. She died in May 2002.
During an autopsy, a coroner found the presence of succinylcholine and morphine. An investigation determined the drugs were not prescribed to Franco or ordered by her doctors.
Court documents show Hall and another employee discovered Franco wasn’t breathing in her hospital bed. The nurse said Hall was near Franco’s room at the time Franco stopped breathing.
According to the probable cause, hospital employees reported the number of cardiac emergencies among patients receiving care at the medical center rose to 18 during Hall’s employment. Before she was hired, the hospital averaged one incident a year. The hospital reported the number of cardiac emergencies dropped after Hall was placed on leave.
Of the 18 patients who suffered cardiac emergencies during that time, nine died.
The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office reports Hall was arrested by the U.S. Marshals just after 6:30 p.m. May 12 in Kansas. Marshals tracked her to a motel in Overland Park near Interstate 435 and Metcalf.