A former Army nurse who admitted infecting patients with hepatitis C while stealing powerful painkillers from them has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison.

Jon Dale Jones admitted he repeatedly stole the intravenous painkiller fentanyl from surgery patients while working as a civilian nurse at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso.

Prosecutors say the 47-year-old retired Army major infected at least 16 patients after pulling fentanyl from a clean vial at the hospital and putting it in a contaminated container brought from home. He'd then give patients the remaining medicine from the hospital's newly infected vials.

Jones apologized at his Tuesday sentencing. He says he's putting his life back together after dealing with alcohol and drug addictions.