KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A cloud of mystery surrounding the deaths of several patients in the early 2000s at a hospital in Chillicothe, Missouri now includes two-degree murder charges.
A woman who worked as a respiratory therapist is accused of the murder of a second patient in her care.
Jennifer Hall, 42, served as a respiratory therapist at Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe from December 16, 2001 to May 21, 2002, when she was placed on administrative leave following the death of patient Fern Franco.
Last year, Hall was charged with Franco’s alleged murder.
On Friday, the Livingston County, Missouri, prosecutor charged Hall with one count of first-degree murder in the March 21, 2002, death of David Wesley Harper.
David Wesley Harper’s death was caused by succinylcholine, which paralyzes the victim’s muscles, including the diaphragm, “causing the victim to suffer a horrific death by suffocation while retaining full consciousness and awareness that they are unable to breathe and are dying” . according to the statement of probable cause.
Harper, according to a court document, “was a healthy young man with a wife and children who stayed in the hospital rather than be discharged just because his doctor asked him to test devices to treat sleep apnea.”
Hall is expected to make his first court appearance in the Harper case March 1 in Livingston County.
His trial in the Franco murder case will begin May 15 in Clinton County courthouse, where the case was allowed to be transferred.
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Details and annual homicide data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.