Respiratory therapist accused of poisoning patient is charged with murder, sheriff says
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV/Gray News) – A former respiratory therapist has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a 2002 homicide, officials said.
Jennifer Anne Hall, 41, worked at Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, Missouri from December 2001 to May 2002. During her employment, the rate of cardiac collapse incidents “rose alarmingly,” a probable cause document stated. Investigators stated 18 such incidents were recorded during her employment at the hospital, when, on average, the hospital had one incident per year.
The court document stated that from those 18 cases of cardiac collapse, nine people died. Staff had believed Hall was responsible for the patient deaths and administration ordered Hall to be monitored.
One patient, Fern Franco, was found dead in the morning hours of May 18, 2002. Hall was placed on administrative leave as a result, the court document stated.
An autopsy on Franco’s remains, according to the probable cause document, revealed the presence of succinylcholine and morphine – “two substances which medical records revealed were not prescribed to Ms. Franco or ordered by her doctors.”
A Chillicothe police officer testified that “Hall’s victim was a sick, defenseless, elderly woman who was depending on Hall to care for her physical ailment within a medical facility. The substance Hall used to brutally take Fern Franco’s life, succinylcholin, paralyzes the victim’s muscles, including the diaphragm, causing the victim to suffer a ghastly death from suffocation while still maintaining full consciousness and awareness that they are unable to breathe. Morphine also acts to suppress respiration and is not given to pneumonia patients for that reason.”
The probable cause document stated that Franco died May 18, 2002, and in the nearly 20 years since, Hall has not demonstrated remorse for taking Franco’s life.
Matthew O’Connor, who has represented Hall in the past, said no evidence exists to connect Hall to the deaths.
The Livingston County Sheriff said Hall might be using the name Semaboye. As of Tuesday afternoon, she had not been taken into custody.
There is no bond attached to the warrant. Anyone with information has been asked to contact the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office at (660) 646-0515.
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