The judge who presided over the trial of killer nurse Genene Jones knew the convicted baby murderer would be released early despite the 99-year sentence imposed by the jury.
John Carter, who is now a U.S. congressman, also said today that he believes that Jones should not be released from prison.
Jones, 63, was a nurse who was convicted in 1984 of killing 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan with a powerful dose of muscle relaxant. She was sentenced to 99 years. She was convicted in a second trial of injuring a second toddler who survived the injections and sentenced to 60 years to be served concurrently.
She was also suspected by the man who prosecuted her of having killed between 11 and 45 other children from 1978 to 1982. She was never tried for the deaths, however.
Because of mandatory release laws that were in effect at the time of her conviction, Jones will be let out of prison in 2018 after serving about one-third of her time.
"I was aware that she would be released early," Carter told ABC News today. "But the jury that sentenced her was not aware. We could not tell the jury. That's just what the law is."
"The jury was not happy about it when they found out," he said.
Carter, a Republican who is now the chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations in the House, presided over the six-week trial. He recalls that during the trial the mothers of her other alleged victims demonstrated outside the courthouse for Jones to be tried as a serial killer.
"I don't know why the other cases didn't go to court," the former judge said.
"The trial was a circus," Carter recalled. "Genene Jones caused so many disturbances. We had a situation where she thought a reporter in a window was trying to shoot her. Her lawyers could not control her."
"She definitely enjoyed the limelight," he said.
Carter does not believe that Jones should be released.
"I just think that because of the nature and circumstances of the crime, she should have to serve the full 99 years," he said.
But he said there is little that can be done to prevent her release, but believes that it is possible for another one of Jones' alleged victims to come forward so that she could be prosecuted for a second murder.
"The question is if they have enough evidence to successfully prosecute Jones with a new murder charge," he said.
Carter noted that the hospital's records have since been destroyed.
Jones has not responded to repeated efforts to reach her for comment. William Chenault, a San Antonio-based lawyer who briefly served as Jones' court-appointed attorney, said, "Jones always denied that she did anything. She said she was there to help the kids."