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Jennifer Hall arrested after being accused of poisoning pneumonia patient at Chillicothe hospital

Jennifer Anne Hall.
Jennifer Anne Hall.(Livingston County Sheriff's Office)
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:53 PM CDT
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CHILLICOTHE, Mo. (KCTV) - A former respiratory therapist who has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a 2002 homicide has been taken into custody, according to the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office.

They say that she was taken into custody today at about 6:40 p.m.

Jennifer Anne Hall, 41, was arrested by the authorities in Kansas on a Livingston County arrest warrant for first-degree murder. The sheriff’s office notes she may have charges elsewhere.

The extradition process will begin as soon as possible.

“Great work by the officers and agencies working together in locating Ms. Hall,” the sheriff’s office said. They then posted pictures on Facebook of her that were taken when she was arrested.

According to KCTV5′s previous reporting, Hall worked at Hedrick Medical Center from December 2001 - 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 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 breath. 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 near-20 years since, Hall has not demonstrated a 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.

Previous coverage:

Families of patients who died 20 years ago hoping charges against respiratory therapist will bring answers

Granddaughter wants answers in grandmother’s death, hopes new murder charges will lead to the truth

Warrant issued for Overland Park woman, accused of poisoning pneumonia patient at Chillicothe hospital