When people don’t feel well they trust that they can go to a hospital be treated and go home after, especially if it is not a serious ailment. That wasn’t the case for some getting treated at Nocona General Hospital.
It all started, as most of these stories do, with someone that wasn’t completely altogether. Vickie Dawn Jackson lived in a small community of about 3200, she had moved there when she was 15. She didn’t have very many friends, her job took precedence over her social life. Her first job was in the laundry room at the Nocona Nursing Home. She was quickly promoted to a nurse’s aide position and seemed undaunted of the challenge of working with elderly patients. She gained a reputation of being dedicated and taking pride in her work.
During her junior year of high school Jackson met and married her first boyfriend. They were married after only knowing each other a few weeks. You can imagine that this marriage didn’t last very long, within a year she was back home, back in school, and divorced.
In 1984, after graduating high school, Jackson took a full time position at a nursing home so that she could pay her way through school. She wanted to get her vocational nursing license. Things didn’t go as planned, shortly after she found out she was pregnant. She married the father, Leroy Carson and moved in across her parent’s house. During this marriage she gave birth to a son in 1985 and a daughter in 1986. With the help of her parents she was able to deal with her busy schedule of school during the day and working the night shift. Her hard work paid off, by 1989 she became a licensed vocational nurse, and was given more responsibilities at the nursing home.
By 1996, however, her second marriage was over. Her parents moved, and so did her ex-husband Leroy. She wasn’t alone for very long though, by July 1997 she was married again to Kirk Jackson. She had met him two months prior at a local bar. Kirk and Vickie had something in common unlike her previous husbands; Kirk was a nursing home aide. When Kirk went to work at Nocona General Hospital, Vickie followed and worked as a LVN on the night shift. She went back to school as well, in the hopes of becoming a registered nurse. History started to repeat itself, her marriage began to turn sour. They began arguing regularly to the point that he children moved in with their father, Leroy.
At this point Jackson’s like was falling apart and she was having a hard time keeping herself together. She started to see a counselor where she expressed feelings of depression and how she was worried that her husband was having an affair. She was distant at home and began acting different with her children. She wasn’t acting like herself with them, or at least the person they knew, and was even threatening. Her daughter stated later that there were time she would sleep with a baseball bat when visiting her mother because she was afraid of her.
Nocona General Hospital was a small 38 bed hospital and ran just like any other hospital. Like any hospital, there were normal deaths, nothing out of the ordinary and always a reason. In December 2000, things changed and people began to die, and no one knew why. Within 18 days seven patients that all came in for different reasons all died of the same thing, respiratory arrest. The hospital didn’t think too much of it and it was business as usual at the start of the year. By January 2001 that number jumped to 25 victims, 5 of them managed to live.
Hospital administrators had seen the unusual patter of deaths as a “run of bad luck”, were starting to question them. Around this time it was reported that there were vials of mivacurium chloride missing from the hospital’s drug cart. This was a powerful drug that was used to paralyze the respiratory system to insert breathing tubes, a drug overdose would cause the respiratory arrest that was the cause of death of these patients.
With this new information, an investigation was launched by the FBI. It was determined that the last hospital employee with the victims before their death was Vickie Dawn Jackson. The hospital felt they needed solid proof that she was their murdered, so they decided to leave her in her position. Jackson was unaware that she was being investigated and decided to claim one more victim. The victim was her husband’s grandfather E.E. “Preacher” Jackson. On February 4, 2001 she murdered him, but remained in her position for 13 more days.
On February 17, 2001 a patient named Donnelly Reid almost died after Jackson injected something into his IV. The hospital staff was able to save his life and he provided some proof to the administrators to get rid of Jackson. Investigators found two days after the attack on Reid a syringe in a garbage can at the Jackson home. Tests proved that the syringed contained traces of mivacurium chloride. Kirk maintained that he had no idea how the syringe had gotten there when questioned by investigators. During her interview she expressed shock genuinely, that patients had been murdered. She said if there was any foul play that she could think of a number of staffers who might’ve been responsible, but she didn’t want to point any fingers at the time. The hospital fired both her and her husband, even though no one thought that her husband had played any role in the murders.
After being fired, Jackson went on with her life as usual. She remained at her house on Henrietta Street, she would visit the Dairy Queen, order her usual taco basket, and sit in her usual booth. She would smile at the stunned diners as she usually did and tell anyone who asked that she had nothing to do with the murdered. She had even run into the son of one of her victims and asked him how he was and that it was so good to see him. The son Pat Williams didn’t know what to do, he was speechless, went back to his truck called his wife to tell her what had happened and ask her what to do.
Jackson’s husband Kirk was probably the most confused of all. He was aware that their marriage was in trouble, and that Vickie was unhappy. He couldn’t imagine though that the unhappiness could drive her to commit murder. He did eventually leave Vickie because he would have nightmares of her stabbing him with a needle.
Before arresting Jackson, investigators need to prove that there was foul play in the deaths of these patients. That meant that the bodies needed to be exhumed. Exhumations did not begin until June 2001. Most of the patients had already hired lawyers and suing the hospital by then.
Jackson went on with her life as though everything was fine. She had even managed to get a job at a nursing home just outside of Nocona. She was back to her old habits soon though; she was fired within weeks after being suspected of attempting to steal medicine.
In July 2002 Jackson was arrested in a grocery store, she was working in the deli making sandwiches. The deli manager was shocked. The manager was convinced that they had the wrong person. Eventually Jackson pleaded no contest. Everyone wondered why she would plead no contest and waive her right to a trial after saying endlessly she was not guilty. The reason, her lawyer said was that it was important to her that a jury never find her guilty of murder. It meant a lot to her to never admit guilt and never be convicted by a jury. Pleading no contest mean that she didn’t have to admit guilt, but could be sentenced as though she pleaded guilty, she was sentenced to life in prison.
Jackson will never admit to guilt, you can form your own opinion as to whether or not she did it. To me the evidence seems to be there and speaks for itself. It seems that Jackson got lost somewhere in her marital problems and began down a very dark path. She went from being a nurse that wanted to be a good person and help people to a murderer.