Suspected Hospital Serial Killer Charged With Second Murder Two Decades After Deaths
After two decades, suspected medical serial killer Jennifer Anne Hall has been arrested and charged with murder for two deaths that occurred during her short time at the Hedrick Medical Center in Missouri.
Jennifer Anne Hall, a former respiratory therapist at Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, Missouri, is suspected to be involved in multiple deaths that occurred during her short time at the hospital. From December 2001 to May 2002, Hall worked directly with patients and during that time period, there was a dramatic increase in cardiac collapse incidents.
KCTV reported that the hospital averaged only one incident per year prior to Hall’s arrival, then it spiked to 18 incidents during her employment. Nine people survived, while nine died. Staff suspected that Hall was involved, and she was monitored.
Over two decades later, Hall, now 41, has been charged with murder in two of the deaths that occurred at the hospital. Her initial arrest in the deaths came in May 2022 when she was charged with murder in connection with the 2002 homicide of 75-year-old Fern Franco.
According to CBS News, Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney Adam Warren said Franco died of lethal doses of morphine and succinylcholine, a relaxant that paralyzes the respiratory muscles. Neither substance had been prescribed to Franco or ordered by her doctors. Hall was placed on administrative leave following Franco’s 2002 death, reported KCTV.
A Chillicothe police officer stated in their testimony, “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, succinylcholine, 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.”
On Feb. 22, 2023, Hall was charged with first-degree murder in another death that occurred at the Hedrick Medical Center. She is accused of killing a 37-year-old patient named David Wesley Harper on March 21, 2002 by "administering unprescribed pharmaceuticals to him,” reported PEOPLE.
Harper was admitted to Hedrick Medical Center with bronchitis three days before his death. On March 21, Hall reported that she found Harper sitting on the edge of his bed feeling ill, then he fell backward in his bed in respiratory arrest and later died, according to PEOPLE.
Prosecutors said that Hall was found with a vial of succinylcholine in her pocket at the time of Harper’s death, and she was not certified to administer the drug.
Prosecutors stated, "Because of Hall's singular proximity to stricken patients, her access to pharmaceuticals which are deadly if misused, and her discovery of, and method of notifying staff of every patient's cardiac emergency, nursing staff believed Hall was responsible for the patient deaths.”
Hall pleaded not guilty to the first murder charge, and her defense attorney, Molly Hastings, told PEOPLE that she plans to enter a not guilty plea to the second murder charge.
Hastings said, "I look forward to the opportunity to defend her against each and every one of these allegations and believe the evidence will support an acquittal when we have our day in court."
Anyone who has information about these cases or the deaths that occurred during Hall’s time at the hospital should contact the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office at (660) 646-0515.