Dedicated to Helping the SickVickie Dawn Jackson, known as Nurse Vickie to her patients, had worked around the sick since her junior year in high school.
Her first job was in the laundry room at the Nocona Nursing Home, but she was quickly promoted to a nurse's aide position.
For the young age of 17, dealing with elderly patients could have been too much of a challenge, but Vickie Dawn Jackson seemed undaunted and had gained a reputation for being dedicated and taking pride in her work.
Vickie Who?Socially things did not go quite as smoothly for Jackson. She had friends, but not many. In fact, many of her classmates in the small community of around 3,200 people cannot recall much about Vickie Jackson prior to her arrest. This could be attributed to her having only lived in the community since she was 15, also her job took precedence over having much of a social life and she had an unassuming personality.
Marriage Number OneAlthough described as unremarkable by most, Jackson met and married her first boyfriend during her junior year of high school after only knowing him for a few weeks. Within in year she was back home, back in school and divorced.
Marriage Number TwoAfter she graduated from high school in May 1984, she took a full-time position at the nursing home in order to earn enough money to get her vocational nursing license. Her plans got sidetracked however, after she learned she was pregnant. She and the baby's father, Leroy Carson, married and settled down across from Vickie's parent's house.
During the Carson's marriage they had two children - a boy, Curtis, who was born in 1985 and a daughter, Jennifer, who was born in 1986. Vickie's parents helped care for the children while she dealt with her busy schedule of school during the day and working the night shift at the nursing home. But her hard work seemed to paying off and in 1989 she reached her goal of becoming licensed vocational nurse and she was given additional responsibilities at the nursing home.
Marriage Number ThreeBy 1996 Vickie was once again on her own. Her parents had moved to Indiana and Leroy had moved on as well. The couple divorced, but by July 4, 1997, she was married to Kirk Jackson who she had met at a local bar two months before they exchanged marriage vowels.
Kirk Jackson also worked as a nursing home aide so unlike her previous husbands, Vickie and Kirk shared a common ground. When he went to work at Nocona General Hospital, Vickie followed, landing a position as a LVN on the night shift. She also began taking courses with the goal of becoming a registered nurse. But just like in the past, her marriage started to go bad.
Vickie and Kirk began arguing regularly, to the point that her children moved in with their father, Leroy who then sued her for child support and was granted $300 a month.
Evil Beginning to SurfaceEmotionally Vickie began to fall apart and she went to see a counselor. She told the counselor that she was depressed and fearful that her husband was having an affair. She became distant at home and noticeably different with her children, saying things to them that were uncharacteristic and even threatening. Her daughter later said that during that time she would sleep with a baseball bat when visiting her mother, out of fear of her.
Respiratory ArrestNocona General Hospital was a small 38-bed hospital and until December 11, 2000, ran pretty much like all other small community-based hospitals. There were deaths, but rarely without reason. But then, almost as if a balloon popped, things began to change and patients began to die for unexplained reasons.
- December 11, 2000: Donnie Jennings, 100. Died from respiratory arrest.
- December 20, 2000: Elgie Hutson, 87, admitted for a broken leg. Died from respiratory arrest.
- December 20, 2000: Sanford Mitchell, 62, admitted with cirrhosis. Died from respiratory arrest.
- December 24, 2000: Barbara Atteberry, 50, admitted for back pain. Died from respiratory arrest.
- December 24, 2000: Boyd Burnett, 87, admitted for disorientation. Died from respiratory arrest.
- December 29, 2000: James Gore, 80, admitted after choking on food. Died from respiratory arrest.
- December 29, 2000: Gertie Matthews, 79, admitted for dementia and a urinary tract infection. Died from respiratory arrest.
By the end of January 2002 the list of victims would jump to 25, five of who managed to live.
Missing DrugsBy the end of January hospital administrators who had previously viewed the unusual pattern in the numerous deaths as "a run of bad luck" were now questioning what was going on in the 38 beds that had potentially become death traps. It was at this time that it was reported that there were several vials of mivacurium chloride missing from the hospital's drug cart.
Mivacurium chloride is a powerful drug which is used to paralyze the respiratory system during the insertion of breathing tubes. An overdose of the drug would immediately cause respiratory failure.
InvestigationAn investigation into unexplained patient deaths was immediately launched which included local law enforcement and the FBI and it was determined that Vickie Dawn Jackson, the sweet, soft spoken, dedicated Nurse Vickie, was the last hospital employee with the patients who had died mysteriously. But instead of removing her from her position the hospital administration felt they needed solid proof.
One More MurderJackson, unaware that she was under investigation, was left in her position to claim one more victim - her husband's grandfather - E. E. "Preacher" Jackson. She murdered him on February 4, 2002, and remained in her position for 13 more days.
An Eye WitnessOn February 17, a 61-year-old patient Donnelly Reid almost died after Jackson injected something into his IV, but hospital staff managed to save him. Reid was able to provide administrators with the some of the proof that they needed to get rid of Vickie Dawn Jackson.
Within days investigators on the case dug through the garbage at the Jackson home and found a syringe which tested positive for mivacurium chloride. Both Vickie and Kirk were fired.
ExhumationsIn June 2001, four months after Vickie was terminated, several of the patients who had died of respiratory arrest were exhumed and the bodies were tested for mivacurium chloride. Vickie Dawn Jackson was eventually charged with capital murderof 10 patients.
Dr. Lisa ClaytonIn 2005, prior to the trial, Dr. Lisa Clayton ran competency tests on Jackson and wrote that she was competent to stand trial. She went on to describe Vickie as manipulative with a grandiose sense of self importance adding that she enjoys having power over others. She also found her to be unremorseful about the offenses she was charged with and enable to empathize with others.
Unexpected Witness for the ProsecutionVickie's daughter, Jennifer Carson, was 18 when she told prosecutors that in her opinion her mother was capable of murder and recounted a story about her mother saying that since she was bipolar she could get away with murdering Jennifer.
No Contest PleaAfter several years had passed since Jackson was arrested for murder, her trial date was finally set for October 4, 2006. She had maintained from the beginning that she was innocent and could never possibly kill patients, but when it was her opportunity to say it in a court room she decided instead to enter a plea of "no contest".
Jackson's attorney Bruce Martin said Jackson decided to enter the plea was because her daughter had decided to testify against her.
Under a "no contest" plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but can be sentenced just as if they pleaded guilty.