Former hospital respiratory therapist, Jennifer Anne Hall, has been charged with first-degree murder.
She received this charge for allegedly killing David Wesley Harper, a 37-year-old patient under her care, over 20 years ago in March 2002.
Court documents allege that Hall “administered unprescribed pharmaceuticals” to Harper while he was battling bronchitis at the Hendrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, Missouri. Harper fell into “complete respiratory arrest” and later died.
However, after Harper’s death, an incriminating discovery was made. Hall was found with a vial of succinylcholine, a muscle-paralyzing agent that can cause suffocation, in her pocket. Hall was not certified to administer this drug.
Prosecutors have accused Hall of being involved in the deaths of nine total patients that were entrusted to her care.
While hall was working at Hendrick Medical Center from December 2001 to May 2002, there was an “alarming” increase in the number of cardiac collapse incidents. During her five-month employment, 18 such incidents resulted in nine deaths.
In contrast, the hospital had previously averaged one cardiac collapse incident per year before Hall’s employment. Hall has denied being a serial killer and is facing another murder charge in connection with the death of 75-year-old patient Fern Franco in May 2022.
Hall’s defense attorney, Molly Hastings, plans to enter a plea of not guilty to the second murder charge during Hall’s upcoming court appearance. The defense argues that Hall’s proximity to the stricken patients and access to pharmaceuticals that can be deadly if misused led to nursing staff believing Hall was responsible for the patient deaths.
Hall faces charges for nine deaths in total, and the case is ongoing.