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20070322: Jacksonville Man Cleared In Daytona Beach Serial Killings FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Investigators in Daytona Beach are going back to square one to try and solve a series of murders from 2005 to 2006.
    
Daytona Beach Police say the man arrested for a string of sexual attacks on prostitutes and homeless people in Jacksonville is not the city's serial killer.
   
Investigators say Tracy Newton's DNA did not match the evidence left behind at local murder scenes.

Police are continuing to investigate the deaths of three Daytona Beach women believed to have been murdered by a serial killer from 2005 to 2006.
 

20070315: Police Investigate Link In Serial Killer Murders FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

A man sitting in a Jacksonville jail is a possible suspect in a series of murders in Daytona Beach.

Police say DNA evidence connects Tracy Devon Newton to attacks on prostitutes and homeless women in Jacksonville.

Now, Daytona Beach Police are checking that same evidence to see if it matches what they have from the three cases they're working.

The body of Iwana Patton was found on February 24th last year off Williamson Boulevard in Daytona Beach. She was the third woman found murdered in Daytona Beach in three months. 

The other two women were Laquetta Gunther and Julie Green.    

Jacksonville Police say Newton is tied to at least nine cases there.

 

20070223: Connection Investigated Between Dead Prostitute And Serial Killer FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Police want to see if a prostitute, found dead in Sanford, is connected with a Daytona Beach serial killer.Investigators will only say the death of 39-year-old Lisa Marie French is suspicious. She was found murdered next to railroad tracks earlier this week.Detectives have contacted Daytona Beach police about their on-going serial killer investigation, but Daytona Beach police have not commented to Channel 9 about any connections.
 

20070222: Daytona Serial Killer May Have Strangled Prostitute FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Friends Fear Killer Is Hunting Victims Again

A 39-year-old woman found dead behind a Sanford, Fla., warehouse may be the latest victim of a serial killer targeting prostitutes, according to investigators.

Lisa Marie French, 39, was found strangled to death behind a warehouse in Sanford near the intersection of 13th and Elm streets this week. 'The latest murder victim in Sanford is a known prostitute who may have worked the streets in Daytona Beach, according to detectives," Local 6's Tarik Minor reported. Local6.com has learned that detectives are comparing DNA samples from French's body with DNA collected at Daytona Beach crime scenes of three prostitutes last year.

 

Police confirmed that Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton were killed by a serial killer within three months of each other. Gunther's body was found in an alley on Dec. 26, 2005. Green's body was discovered Jan. 14, 2006, on a dirt road at a construction site, while Patton was found on a dirt road Feb. 24, 2006. Friends of the victims fear the serial killer is back hunting victims."It still bothers me and I'm still with it and I'm not going to stop," friend of murder victims Stacy Dittner said. "I pray for (the victims') family that they find this person. Who is doing this to these girls? They don't deserve it."The three women found dead were shot to death while French was strangled, Daytona Beach detectives said.

 

 

 

20061103: Daytona Beach Serial Killer Not Linked to New Murder FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Authorities in Holly Hill are blaming "overanxious news people," for erroneously linking a body found wrapped in rotting carpet last week to a series of unsolved slayings of street women that has baffled police for nearly a year in nearby Daytona Beach. "There is no connection," said Holly Hill Detective Sgt. Joe Borelli. Among other things, the body found last week in Holly Hill was that of an as-yet-unidentified male, Borelli said. Local law enforcement believes that because the victim is male and victims of the Daytona serial killer are female, that the man's death is not related to the series of slayings in Daytona. The decomposed body was discovered Oct. 24 in a wooded area of Holly Hill, less than a mile from the spot where authorities found the body one of the three street women who were killed late last winter in Daytona Beach. Those slayings, which subsided in February, created widespread fear in the popular beach town after authorities said they could not rule out the possibility that a serial killer was stalking streetwalkers in the area. Attention from the media and concern among local residents and visitors tapered off after the slayings seemed to end, though all three cases are actively being investigated. But attention was again focused on the cases last week when the body was found in Holly Hills. The body, which had been wrapped in a rotting carpet secured with duct tape, was so severely decomposed that at first authorities could not even determine its gender. That had to be determined by an autopsy conducted at a state laboratory in Gainesville, Borelli said. But while those tests were pending, local news outlets and others speculated that the body might have been another victim of the suspected serial killer in Daytona Beach. "I think it was probably just overanxious news people," Borelli said when asked to explain the rumors and speculation. So far, authorities have not yet been able to positively identify the man whose remains sparked the speculation, nor have they determined a precise cause of death. All they are willing to say is that death is under investigation. In the meantime, while authorities in Daytona Beach may be breathing a sigh of relief over the fact that so far, the killer has not struck again, their probe is continuing. That probe began when the body LaQuetta Mae Gunter was found in an alley just after Christmas. Two weeks later, authorities found the body of Julie Ann Green, who was shot to death and dumped along a dirt road. And in February, an anonymous tipster telephoned police and reported that he had spotted a woman's body in a wooded area off Williamson Boulevard. The slain woman was later identified as Iwana Patton, and authorities said she had been shot to death. Investigators said at that the time that they believed all three slayings were linked, and that all three women lived what authorities described as "high-risk lifestyles." In fact, there were enough similarities among the three slayings that police enlisted the aid of a profiler from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. That profiler concluded that the same man killed all three women. The profiler also surmised that the women had in all likelihood gone with the killer voluntarily, never suspecting that he was a serial killer who was, as the Orlando Sentinel put it, "using his victims as substitutes for a 'close acquaintance' who is causing him stress."
 

20061024: Police: Body In Carpet May Be Daytona Beach Serial Killer Victim FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Detectives in Daytona Beach, Fla., are investigating whether a body found wrapped in carpet and duct tape is a serial killer's latest victim in the area, WKMG-TV in Orlando has learned.A foul odor led a homeowner to the discovery of a body found in a wooded area between Holly Hill and Daytona Beach Monday night.Because the area where the body was found is a known hot spot for prostitutes, investigators are trying to determine if the Daytona Beach serial killer has claimed a fourth victim, police sources told WKMG reporter Tarik Minor.

Investigators believe the same person killed Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton.

Sources told WKMG in an earlier report that all three victims were shot at close range by someone who likely frequents the streets.Gunther's body was found in an alley on Dec. 26. Green's body was discovered Jan. 14 on a dirt road at a construction site, while Patton was found on a dirt road Feb. 24.Since the discovery of Patton's body, police have questioned people, but the killer remains on the loose.Forensic experts said vegetation has sprouted up around the body so they have called a botanist to examine the growth cycles of the plants.

They believe that the amount of growth of the vegetation will give an idea of when the body was dumped in the area.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement removed the body from the woods Tuesday. They hope to provide information about the age, gender and race of the body.Anyone with information about the discovery is urged to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.
 

20060619: Person Of Interest Ruled Out As Serial Killer Suspect FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Investigators in Daytona Beach, Fla., said a longtime volunteer at a homeless shelter who was considered a person of interest in the search for a serial killer has been ruled out as a suspect in the homicides, Local 6 News has learned.

Detectives said two of the serial killer's victims apparently visited the Volusia County Homeless Coalition where David Lindsay volunteered.

An investigation found that Lindsay served eight years in jail for killing his wife and was wanted for strangling an elderly man in Illinois, Local 6 News reported.

However, Lindsay was cleared.

The person who killed Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton remains on the loose.

Gunther's body was found in an alley on Dec. 26. Green's body was discovered Jan. 14 on a dirt road at a construction site, while Patton was found on a dirt road Feb. 24.

The three women are believed to have entered the killer's vehicle before they were found shot to death.

Sources told Local 6 News in an earlier report that all three victims were shot at close range by someone who likely frequents the streets.

Anyone with information concerning the homicides is urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.

 

20060613: Shelter Volunteer's DNA Tested In Serial Killer Case FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Investigators in Daytona Beach, Fla., are testing the DNA of a new person of interest -- a longtime volunteer at a homeless shelter -- in connection with a search for a serial killer, Local 6 News has learned.

Detectives said two of the serial killer's victims apparently visited the Volusia County Homeless Coalition where person of interest David Lindsay volunteered.

An investigation found that Lindsay served eight years in jail for killing his wife and was wanted for strangling an elderly man in Illinois, Local 6 News reported.

Police have not called Lindsay a suspect in the deaths of Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton. However, investigators are testing his DNA to see if it matches samples taken from the scenes where the bodies were found, according to the report.

"Obviously, for what he was arrested for and the area he has been in for the last couple of years, we are interested to see what he has been up to but again, at most, he is just a person of interest," an investigator told Local 6 reporter Tarik Minor on Tuesday.

Gunther's body was found in an alley on Dec. 26. Green's body was discovered Jan. 14 on a dirt road at a construction site, while Patton was found on a dirt road Feb. 24.

The three women are believed to have entered the killer's vehicle before they were found shot to death.

Sources told Local 6 News in an earlier report that all three victims were shot at close range by someone who likely frequents the streets.

Anyone with information concerning the homicides is urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.

 

20060525: Detectives Ramp Up Hunt For Serial Killer FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Detectives are again ramping up the hunt for a serial killer in Daytona Beach.

They believe he's responsible for the deaths of three women.

But the killer hasn't made a peep in months, and police are worried women are letting their guard down. They said the danger is that it's back to business as usual on the streets because no one has been arrested.

As the murders occurred, it seemed women changed their lifestyles. Prostitutes were reluctant to work. But now officers said they're out there again trying to make a living that could cost them their lives.
 
"It seems that we are getting back to the normal number of prostitutes that we had seen prior to these events occurring," Daytona Beach police Capt. Brian Skipper said.

The events about which Skipper is talking are the murders of three street women -- one a month from December through February. All were shot by a serial killer with whom the women voluntarily got into a car. The murders made headlines for weeks, but with no new victims since Feb. 24, investigators said they are seeing more women making themselves potential targets.

"With the passage of time, there has been a diminished fear within them, and then, of course, we have to recognize that a lot of these girls have drug habits that must be satisfied. Those habits must be fed, and a lot of them will accept risk in order to feed that habit," Skipper said.

Detectives said they've identified persons of interest in this case -- three to four people who may know something about the murders. However, none have been named suspects.

Though attention on the case may have waned, a killer could still be cruising the streets. Detectives said the women who work them are vulnerable.

"They have to recognize this risk to them is still very, very real, and the danger posed to them by this guy remains," Skipper said.

Some officials think the killer may have left town due to the intense publicity. Others think that he may be in jail on another charge. And there are those who believe he's just lying low and will eventually strike again.

Anyone with information on the murders of the three women is asked to call Crimestoppers at 888-277-TIPS.

 

20060505: Serial Killer Link Checked After Woman's Body Found FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Authorities in Orange County, Fla., are investigating whether a woman found dumped at a construction site is a serial killer's latest victim, according to a Local 6 News report.

Workers discovered the body of Lori Clark, 31, at a new subdivision off Boggy Creek Road.

Investigators are not saying how Clark was killed -- only that it was violent.

"It was an opportunity," Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomons said. "I can't say what happened. I can't get into the head of the assailant to say why he or she went there."

Investigators said Clark had a history of prostitution.

"They are looking into the possibility that Clark was murdered by a serial killer who killed three prostitutes in Daytona Beach," Local 6's Jacqueline London said.

The serial killer's last victim was killed at the end of February.

Anyone with information concerning the homicides is urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.

 

20060428: Serial Killer Search FL Orlando Serial Killer News

Daytona Beach police are doing more questioning as they look for new leads in their search for a serial killer.

Over the weekend, eight people were questioned about the recent murders after they were arrested in a reverse prostitution sting.

Detectives say anyone taken in for similar crimes is being asked about the murders of Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton.

That is because at least two of the victims were known to have been prostitutes.

Police have thought that the same man killed all three since late last year.

Police officers are also being questioned in the case, after concerns the killer may have worn a uniform to commit the crimes.

 

20060425: Suspected prostitution solicitors asked about serial killer FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Police here arrested eight men in a reverse prostitution sting and each of the suspects was questioned to determine if they had any information regarding the serial killings of three women.

"There are a series of questions detectives are using in an effort too see if they (the men) were involved or if any have knowledge of the homicides we're working on," said police spokesman Sgt. Al Tolley.

The eight men were nabbed Friday night after female officers posing as prostitutes were propositioned and offered money in exchange for sexual favors, Tolley said.

They were charged with soliciting a prostitute, and at least three of them also were charged with drug possession, resisting arrest without violence and driving with a suspended license.

Capt. Brian Skipper, who oversees the investigators assigned to the unsolved murders of Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton, said suspects arrested in reverse stings are interviewed in connection with the serial murders.

"We're making sure some of the detectives who are involved in the case are also involved in those stings so that they can ask questions," Skipper said Monday.

 

20060425: Prostitute-John Databases Could Crack Serial Killer Case FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Men, Women Subjected To New Line Of Questioning

Investigators in the search for a serial killer in Daytona Beach, Fla., have created databases of area prostitutes and their customers and are subjecting the men and women to a new line of questioning in the case, Local 6 News has learned.

"We are asking them questions," Daytona Beach police Capt. Brian Skipper said. "I don't want to get into specifically what we are asking them but we are picking their brains basically to see if they have any information that we can use."

Local 6 News reported that a group of men recently arrested on solicitation charges in the area were apparently questioned about the deaths of Iwana Patton, Laquetta Gunther and Julie Green.

The three women are believed to have entered the killer's vehicle before they were found shot to death.

The serial killer's last victim was killed at the end of February.

Sources told Local 6 News that all three victims were shot at close range by someone who likely frequents the streets.

"It is quite possible that these girls know who is doing this, they just don't realize it," Skipper said. "So, it takes an investigator to prime them a little bit."

"Detectives are creating databases of prostitutes and their customers and reviewing the information," Local 6 reporter Tarik Minor said.

Several residents in the area remain concerned about the serial killer, Local 6 News reported.

"There is some sick man out there killing people for no reason at all," resident Sheila Marra said. "I don't understand why he is picking on women. I was tempted to go out and buy a BB-gun the other day because I don't know what this guy looks like, I don't know his image. I can tell one thing, he is a very sick man."

Marra said she fears the killer will move out of Florida and target prostitutes in other areas of the United States.

Local 6 News reported that the FBI is investigating tips received from out-of-state callers.

"Detectives with the Daytona Beach Police Department said that this case by far has not gone cold and they are receiving new information every day," Minor said.

 

20060407: Police: Fear of serial killer waning FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Investigators believe prostitutes could be losing their fear of the streets now that several weeks have passed since the third victim in a string of serial killings here was found on a dirt road.

Earlier this week, eight women were arrested on prostitution charges along Ridgewood Avenue, police said. The sting, launched Tuesday evening, netted the most prostitutes since police confirmed in mid-March that a serial killer was on the loose.

"It's possible that with the passage of time, many of the women feel more comfortable coming out," said Daytona Beach Capt. Brian Skipper. "It's also possible that many of them just got out off their jail sentence and had just hit the streets."

Several weeks ago, Skipper said the serial killer was probably going to target women who are vulnerable and "live a high-risk lifestyle."

He said the three murder victims -- Laquetta Gunther, 45, Julie Green, 34, and Iwana Patton, 35 -- likely fit that description.

So far this year, police have conducted at least two prostitution stings along Ridgewood Avenue. The first operation on Feb. 28 -- before word of the serial killer spread -- brought in 12 women. The second sting, on March 3, only resulted in three arrests.

"Some women were scared, but some women never lost the fear of being out there," said Tara Price, 28, who used to walk Ridgewood before news of the killer spread. "But the other night I got desperate because I needed cigarettes and I had to go out on the street and make some money."

The three victims, all shot to death, were known to frequent Ridgewood, friends and other prostitutes have said.

Although police have not identified a suspect in the killings, they are watching several persons of interest, Skipper said.

Some of those persons of interest were gained after investigators spoke to a cab driver who may have witnessed some activity the night Gunther was possibly murdered.

"The cab driver came to us and he gave us some very interesting information," Skipper said.

Skipper said Thursday that none of the three women were ever listed as missing, and the people who probably saw them before they were picked up by the killer have spoken to investigators.

Green was last seen by a boyfriend who said she headed toward Mason Avenue to use a public telephone to call her father. The friend, Rick Marcott, said Green left his house on Tomoka Road about 8 p.m. Jan. 13, the night she was killed.

Patton's car was found in a lot behind a business at Ridgewood and Cottrill avenues on Feb. 25, the day after her body was found. Skipper said Thursday that "it appears she was probably on Ridgewood" before she was picked up by the killer.

Only Gunther's whereabouts before her death remain somewhat a mystery, Skipper said.

"We have not really established where she was before she was killed," he said.

 

20060323: Daytona Beach serial killer set to strike again? FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Gruesome crime pattern suggests murderer could be looking for next victim Since Christmas 2005 an unknown serial killer has murdered three women in the Daytona Beach, Florida, area. The media and the police speculate that he may kill again this month, noting that he killed in December, January, and February. He may, unfortunately, feel the need to meet this terrible expectation. The believed interval between the three known murders is 19 and 41 days, or an average of just over three weeks between homicides. If this is any kind of pattern for the killer, he could be expected to strike again as soon as this week. The three known victims are local women, who worked along Ridgewood Avenue. They may have abused drugs and worked as prostitutes or otherwise raised their victim profiles to put them at high risk. The body of Laquetta Gunther, age 45, was discovered December 26, 2005, in a narrow alley between two buildings off Beach Street. Found in a fetal position, partially clothed, she had been shot in the head. Julie Green, 34, was found January 14, 2006, lying facedown in a ditch at a construction site off LPGA Boulevard. Investigators have not revealed whether Green, like Gunther, was partially clothed. She had been shot. And, on the afternoon of February 24, shortly after 1 p.m., police were tipped by a man, calling from a pay phone, as to the whereabouts of the body of Iwana Patton. Patton, 35, was found on a dirt road just off Williamson Boulevard. She, too, had been shot. Having identified the mystery caller who led investigators to the body, police no longer consider him a suspect. Many questions arise about the unknown serial killer who has murdered these three women. But most vacationers and students arriving here for spring break, seeking the beautiful sand and sun of Daytona’s beaches, have no idea that this murderer may be out looking for his next victim. Will the killer strike again, and if so, will he seek his next victim from the ranks of crack addicts and streetwalkers? Or will he look for a new type of victim? Because at least two of his three known victims abused drugs and were prostitutes, other women with similar backgrounds would be an obvious choice for this killer. But, will he continue to seek victims living and functioning on the edge of society? They are easy victims for him. Or will he change his MO to frustrate police efforts to identify him? These are just a few of the questions that profilers and investigators are racing to answer, before another woman is killed by this cold, faceless, relentless killer. Many prostitutes choose to work on the street rather than as call girls. Some say this gives them the opportunity to meet and otherwise consider their “client” before they go off on a “date.” Others choose to work on the street because they can set their own hours or simply because they are so addicted to drugs or so sick that they cannot find employment with an escort service. One report theorizes that over 1,000,000 American women (and, we know, men and children, as well) have worked as prostitutes. While streetwalkers are believed to represent only 20% of the “working” prostitutes in this country, 70% report that they have been physically and sexually assaulted, some reporting such assaults on a weekly basis. At least 50,000 prostitutes are believed to be HIV positive, with some cities reporting that over half of all prostitutes test positive for HIV. The person who murdered the three known victims is likely male, and probably older vs. younger. All three victims are believed to have met their killer on or near Ridgewood Avenue, a thoroughfare well known to local prostitutes and the “johns” that drive along the avenue looking for a date. The killer is acting out rage and anger, but he can control or otherwise hide his rage, at least until he gets control of his victim. He has shot all three women to death, at least two of whom were killed with an execution-like head shot. The killer's choice of weapons, probably a handgun, suggests that he needs such a threatening weapon to gain and maintain control of his female victims. He is probably not someone known to get into fistfights with men. These murders have gotten a lot of local media coverage and the killer likely feels empowered by this level of attention. As the media and the police speculate that he may kill again this month -- noting that he killed in December, January, and February -- he may, unfortunately, feel the need to meet this terrible expectation. We know that the bodies of the three known victims were found in the same part of town. Evidently the killer made no significant attempt to conceal the bodies. This suggests that he simply wanted to separate himself from his victims, with no well thought-out or previously identified body disposal site that he could use to make identification of the victims more difficult for the authorities. As all three victims were shot, it would appear that the killer felt safe in discharging a firearm, perhaps multiple times, into the victims without being seen or heard. This further suggests that he could have killed the victims in a location different from where their bodies were found. Profilers will tell you that statistically such a killer is angry with women in general. He uses easy victims, such as prostitutes, to act out his anger and rage against women. The prostitute may function as a substitute for who he is really angry with. Where he was before his first known murder in December 2005 is unknown. But he would have had anger management problems prior to his first known murder victim. Although under unusual stress in his life, the killer will be closely following the investigation to determine if the police have any leads as to his identity. And, of course, there could be other victims. The reality is prostitutes many times are not accountable to others and may not be missed for some time. Media reports suggest that local area prostitutes are arming themselves with weapons such as switchblade knives, actively seeking the killer of their three known "sisters of the streets." A knife is not very effective against a gun, and may give a false sense of security or even bravado to the otherwise frightened women. They believe themselves to be potential victims, yet they return to the streets each night to make a living. While most people understand that it is not safe to travel alone in many cities at night, this is the way for prostitutes and they may not be quick to change their habits, even when faced with a serial killer. After all, their purpose is a one-on-one relationship with their "client," if only for a few minutes. Most street walkers will be interviewed by police as a crackdown takes place concerning local prostitution, this as police attempt to limit the number of potential victims on the street while at the same time trying to identify the killer. Normally uncooperative women are now more than happy to talk to police, even if it means the number of potential "customers" has been reduced due to increased police patrols. As indicated, the believed interval between the three known murders about 25 days between homicides. If this is any kind of pattern for the killer, he could be expected to strike again as soon as this week, and he will likely kill again. He has no apparent reason to stop, and as a serial killer (someone who has killed three or more people with an emotional cooling off period in between murders), he will likely get the urge to kill again. There are enough women of the night to insure that he does not have to be a serious stalker. He need simply drive slowly down one or two well known streets, like Ridgewood Avenue, at night and the potential victims will, unfortunately, come to him like the moth to the flame. "Hey. Looking for a date?"
 

20060322: Police: Serial Killer Could Be Person Of Authority FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Investigators said they haven't dismissed the possibility that the Daytona Beach serial killer could be a person of authority, such as a police officer.

Capt. Brian Skipper, of the Daytona Beach Police Department, said they're not ruling out any profession right now.

WESH 2 News also talked to a woman on the streets who believes she came face to face with the killer. Nelita Ramos said she was walking down the street in January when a truck pulled up next to her.

"He pulled over. I thought he was going to ask a question, but he pulled a gun on me and says, 'Get in,'" she said.
 
Nelita said she was taken to an alley on Beach Street and the man put a gun to her head and told her she was going to die. She said she begged for her life and after a few hours was let go.

Police said they are no closer to catching the serial killer than they were weeks ago.

The bodies of victims Iwana Patton, Julie Green, and Laquetta Gunther were found dumped in different areas of Daytona Beach.

 

20060321: Woman: I Know Daytona's Serial Killer FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Investigators in Daytona Beach, Fla., are investigating a woman's claim that she knows the serial killer responsible for the recent deaths of three prostitutes in the city, according to Local 6 News.

The woman, who is in protective custody, told Local 6 News that her ex-husband has a history of murder, has confessed to shooting a woman at close range and is a paranoid schizophrenic.

Local 6 News has learned that investigators are looking into the woman's claims and where her ex-husband was when Iwana Patton, Laquetta Gunther and Julie Green were killed.

She said detectives collected DNA evidence from her home and they are waiting on a positive match from DNA found at all of the crime scenes in Daytona.

The woman told Local 6 News that she feels guilty every time she thinks about the women who have already been murdered.

"I don't think he is ever going to stop until he is dead or he is incarcerated for the rest of his life," the woman said. "I won't feel safe until one of those two things happen."

Police said all of the victims got into cars with a stranger and were later found shot to death and dumped in secluded areas.

Anyone with information concerning this crime is urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.

 

20060313: Daytona Prostitutes Hunting Serial Killer FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Women involved in prostitution in Daytona Beach, Fla., have reportedly armed themselves and are searching for a serial killer behind the slayings of three residents, according to a Local 6 News report. "Rather than run from the man police labeled a serial killer, streetwalkers here in Daytona Beach along Ridgewood Avenue say they are seeking the serial killer out," Local 6 reported Tarik Minor said. "They believe the man responsible for murdering three women here is someone they have come in contact with." "We will get him first," streetwalker Tonya Richardson said. "Yeah, we are going to get him first. When we find him, he is going to be sorry. It is as simple as that." Richardson said she and other women are carrying weapons on the streets after Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton were found dead in the city. "I carry a switch blade with me now," Richardson said. "Everyone else does now too." The women are apparently teaming up and promising their own kind of justice, the Local 6 News report said. Last week, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal profiler said a serial killer committed the three unsolved murders. Special Agent Tom Davis said he believes the suspect is a male who targeted the three victims because of other stressors in his life, according to a police statement. No evidence so far indicates any of the women was taken against her will, according to the report. In recent days, local ministers have also hit Daytona streets warning prostitutes about the killer, Local 6 News reported. "We are asking them to buddy up," Street ministry spokeswoman Denise Horsman said. "To stay in lighted areas and get off the street if they can. If they can't, to do anything they can." Police in Daytona Beach are being assisted in the investigation by the same criminal profiler who helped detectives track a killer in the case of Lillian Martin and Josh Bryant in 2001. "The average Joe, when they see somebody on the street, a prostitute or homeless person, they turn their head and look away," Horsman said. Officers have been cracking down on prostitution in the area. Ten people were arrested over the weekend in a prostitution sting. Anyone with information concerning this crime is urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.
 

20060313: Volusia County Serial Killer May Be Linked To Flagler County Murders FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
Late Monday afternoon, Channel 9 learned a serial killer in Volusia County may be linked to killings in Flagler County. Channel 9 has confirmed there is a pattern with the murders across two counties. According to investigators, they are now working with Flagler County on two more possible linked cases to the serial killer. There are two unsolved murder cases that happened in Flagler County in the late '90s. According to sources, both the victims are women and both were killed in a similar manner as the three victims in Daytona Beach. There has been no official link established, but they are looking into it. Late last week, the Florida Department of Investigation released that they are officially calling the Daytona murders the work of a serial killer. They also released that all three women were killed by gun shots. Flagler investigators and Daytona investigators are now working together to see if there are at least two more victims to add to the list.
 

20060311: Profiler says serial killer behind recent murders FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

A serial killer is behind the unsolved murders of three women all shot to death, police here said Friday, and they are no closer to catching their suspect.

After several days of studying evidence and visiting the crime scenes where each of the three victims was found, a veteran profiler with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has concluded the killer, most likely a man, acted out his frustrations on the women.

The profiler called the women "substitute victims who provided a channel" for the stress in the killer's life.

The perpetrator, Daytona Beach Capt. Brian Skipper said, most likely hates women or has rage against them.

The women are being murdered, a report provided to police by the FDLE says, because someone in the killer's life is a source of frustration. That person is close to the killer and could end up becoming one of his victims, police said.

"That source of stress is probably a woman," Skipper said Friday, noting the profile prepared by the state is speculative but acts as a guide for investigators.

While detectives have questioned some "persons of interest," they have already ruled out the people they have talked to, saying none of them is the killer, Skipper said.

Those questioned included drug dealers and "johns," men who seek out prostitutes. Two of the victims were known as crack addicts and prostitutes.

The killings have mystified police since late Dec. 26 when the body of 45-year-old Laquetta Gunther was found shot and partially clothed in an alleyway off Beach Street.

Almost three weeks later on the morning of Jan. 14, a construction company supervisor found the body of 34-year-old Julie Green in a ditch off LPGA Boulevard.

On Feb. 24, just after 1 p.m., police received a call from a man at a pay phone at Mason Avenue and Bill France Boulevard. The caller told police where they could find the body of 35-year-old Iwana Patton. She was lying across a dirt road partially hidden by trees off Williamson Boulevard.

Detectives are still looking for the mystery caller, considered a witness by police, who initially gave them a bogus address and has never contacted them again.

All three women were shot, the report says, but except for Gunther -- who was shot in the head -- investigators won't reveal what part of the body, or how many times. Skipper also would not discuss whether the victims were sexually assaulted or whether they were nude when found.

Earlier this week, Skipper said the killings had all "been carried out in a similar manner."

Green's sister, Rhonda Iwanski, learned Friday that her younger sibling died at the hands of a serial killer.

"Obviously, I want them to find this person or persons," Green said. "I just don't want it to happen to anybody else."

In his report, FDLE profiler Tom Davis pinpointed an age range for police that he believes the suspect falls under, but Skipper would not reveal that, saying "it's too specific" and could put the killer on alert. When asked whether all women in the city should be taking cover, Skipper said he believes the suspect is targeting a certain kind of woman.

"We think this person is going to the places where he can contact women easily and gain their trust," Skipper said. "We are talking about women who live a high-risk lifestyle. Women who are out late at night and early in the morning and are getting in cars with people they hardly know, or don't know at all."

A former prostitute who asked only to be identified by her first name, Nanette, said there's nothing women who walk the streets can do to protect themselves.

"They're out there," she said, "taking a chance with AIDS, just like they're taking a chance at getting their brains blown out. There is no protection."

She said prostitutes survive the only way they know how, and should be recognized as people as well as prostitutes. She hopes the recent murders will bring to light the difficult lives these women face.

"It doesn't matter how bad or good the girl was," she said. "Nobody deserves to die like that."

While Green, the mother of two children, and Gunther were known prostitutes and drug addicts, no one will talk about Patton's life, including a brother who is an Orlando police officer. But investigators said she worked as a nurse at an assisted living facility behind the house where she lived in Holly Hill.

Though investigators will not reveal the specific elements that led the profiler to the conclusion that there is a serial killer in Daytona Beach -- such as ballistics, crime scene evidence or marks on the bodies -- they did say the women at some point got into a car with someone they knew only casually, or not at all. It's not clear, however, how the women and the killer came in contact with each other the day each of them was murdered, Skipper said.

"It's not clear whether the women were acting as prostitutes when they were killed," he said Friday.

Because the suspect has killed one woman a month -- Gunther in December, Green in January and Patton in February -- Skipper said he is bracing for what could be the inevitable -- a fourth victim.

 

20060306: The lawyer who handled David Spanbauer's serial murders says he's glad he's not involved in Teresa H FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Investigators in Volusia County said they are searching for a serial killer.

In a span of two months, three women in the Daytona Beach area were killed and detectives said all the killings were committed by the same person or persons, WESH 2 News reported.

The first slaying happened in December. A 45-year-old woman was found dead in an alley off Beach Street. A few weeks later, another woman was killed and left in a drainage ditch just off LPGA Boulevard. And late last month, the body of woman was discovered on a dirt road off Williamson.
 
Detectives won't say why they think the killings are connected. The victims have been identified as Iwana Patton, Julie Green and Laquetta Gunther. Police said all three women willingly got into a car with a stranger before they were killed.

Officials also said that all three women had had rough lives and had all lived on the streets at some point.

The FBI confirmed on Monday that agents have been working on a behavioral profile of the killer. That profile will be analyzed in Quantico, Va.

Police are also searching for a man who called 911 to report where they could find Patton's body. Investigators traced that call to a nearby pay phone but they have not been able to find the caller.

Police are warning women not to get into a car with a stranger.

Anyone with information about the slaying is urged to call Crimestoppers (888) 277-TIPS.

 

20060306: FBI, Local Officials Search For Serial Killer FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Investigators in Volusia County said they are searching for a serial killer.

In a span of two months, three women in the Daytona Beach area were killed and detectives said all the killings were committed by the same person or persons, WESH 2 News reported.

The first slaying happened in December. A 45-year-old woman was found dead in an alley off Beach Street. A few weeks later, another woman was killed and left in a drainage ditch just off LPGA Boulevard. And late last month, the body of woman was discovered on a dirt road off Williamson.
Click here to find out more!

Detectives won't say why they think the killings are connected. The victims have been identified as Iwana Patton, Julie Green and Laquetta Gunther. Police said all three women willingly got into a car with a stranger before they were killed.

Officials also said that all three women had had rough lives and had all lived on the streets at some point.

The FBI confirmed on Monday that agents have been working on a behavioral profile of the killer. That profile will be analyzed in Quantico, Va.

Police are also searching for a man who called 911 to report where they could find Patton's body. Investigators traced that call to a nearby pay phone but they have not been able to find the caller.

Police are warning women not to get into a car with a stranger.

Anyone with information about the slaying is urged to call Crimestoppers (888) 277-TIPS.

 

20060303: String Of Similar Murders Has Some Worried About Serial Killer FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
A string of similar murders in Daytona Beach has some people wondering if there is a serial killer on the loose. Three women have been killed since December.

Now the FBI is helping to find out if they were all murdered by the same person.

All the women had similar backgrounds, but were they all targeted by the same man? Investigators said there are similarities, but are keeping a lot of the investigation to themselves right now.

"We can't get into specifics. We really want to preserve the integrity of the investigation,” said Lt. Brian Skipper, Daytona Beach Police Department.

The victims were Julie Green, Laquetta Gunther and Iwana Patton. Green and Gunther were found in December and Patton was found a week ago.

Patton was found on Williamson Boulevard. Police said a man called in the last victim from a pay phone near Williamson Boulevard. They said he gave the location of the body and then he hung up.

Investigators said they have a few questions to ask him.

"We need to sit down with him. He's simply a witness to us right now,” Lt. Skipper said.

Police said they believe all three women were killed after accepting rides with a man they didn't know. All the publicity from the murders has prompted a lot of nervous phone calls to the Daytona Beach Police Department, especially with so many people coming into town for special events like Bike Week and spring break.

The Guardian Angels have heard about the murders. Even though the murderer, or murderers, does not seem to be targeting tourists, they are taking the time to educate women on the dangers out there.

"We found out that Bike Week was beginning. Let the women know, you gotta be alert," said William Cruz, Guardian Angels.

Police were quick to say they have not determined if this is a serial killer, or not. They said they still have a lot of investigating to do.

 

20060302: Police: So far, no evidence of serial killer in recent homicides FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News
As police continue to shroud details of the investigation into the recent killings of three women, connections between some of those slain surfaced Wednesday.

The boyfriend of one of the victims said his mate had lived briefly with one of the other women killed.

Police would not confirm anything regarding the cases of the three dead women -- one found in December, one found in January and the third found Friday afternoon.

Several media outlets have speculated that the women could have been murdered by a serial killer -- a supposition Daytona Beach police spokesman Sgt. Al Tolley would not address because, he said, "We don't know."

But some elements link the three women.

Rick Marcott, the boyfriend of Julie Green, 34, whose body was found at a construction site off LPGA Boulevard early Jan. 14, said Green had stayed briefly with Laquetta Gunther in a house in Bunnell.

The 45-year-old Gunther was found shot to death in an alleyway off Beach Street on Dec. 26.

Then on Feb. 24, police received a call about another body. The caller, dialing from a pay phone at a convenience store on Mason Avenue, told dispatchers where they could find the body of 35-year-old Iwana Patton. He also gave police an address, which turned out to be wrong.

Patton was found lying across a dirt road off Williamson Boulevard, just south of Mason.

Police will not reveal how either Green or Patton died or what either woman did for a living.

Friends and acquaintances of Gunther said she was a day laborer and sometime prostitute. Marcott said Green was a "hustler."

According to police, Patton's last known address was on Derbyshire Road in Holly Hill. The house she lived in is owned by a man who also has at least two assisted living facilities. The facilities are behind the residence where Patton lived, but no one there would talk about Patton.

Outside the house where Green lived on Tomoka Road in Daytona Beach, Marcott said Wednesday afternoon he recalled that Green had stayed at least two weeks in a house in Bunnell where Gunther and another victim, Laura Lee Welsh, also stayed.

"The guy they were staying with had been in jail," Marcott said.

Welsh was shot to death in a drug deal, police said. On Jan. 24, investigators arrested Ollie Edward Parker of Daytona Beach and him charged with second-degree murder in her killing. Charles N. Hollowell, who investigators said was attempting to buy cocaine when Welsh was shot, had been charged with third-degree murder in the same case. However, Hollowell pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted purchase of cocaine and agreed to testify against Parker.

An ex-husband of Gunther's, William Campbell, said Wednesday that he recalls Gunther living in a house in Bunnell with a man arrested for dealing drugs.

After Green's body was found by a construction worker on a dirt road off LPGA and rumors began to swirl about the possibility of a serial killer, Detective Bobby Grim said there was no serial killer as far as he could tell and that he believed Gunther and Green were killed over drugs.

But since then, police have clamped down on releasing any more information concerning the murders.

Background on Patton, the third woman found dead last Friday, remains a mystery. However, she has something in common with Gunther.

An employee of the Homeless Assistance Center here said Patton went to the center "sporadically" to pick up her mail. He also said he recalled Gunther going there, as well.

After Gunther and Welsh were killed, Marcott said Green told him she knew who had done it.

"Then she ended up dying a week later," he said.

 

20060228: Serial Killer May Be Targeting Women In Daytona Beach FL Jacksonville Serial Killer News

FBI agents are now assisting Daytona Beach detectives in the investigation into three unsolved homicides that may have been committed by the same person, WKMG-TV in Orlando reported Tuesday.

Sources confirmed that FBI agents are helping Daytona Beach authorities profile the person or persons involved in the slayings of three women in three months.

The city's most recent homicide was 35-year-old Iwana Patton from Holly Hill, whose body was found over the weekend in some woods near Williamson Boulevard and Mason Avenue.

An anonymous caller led police to Patton's body but refused to give any other information to the dispatcher.

Julie Green and Laquetta Gunther were killed in December.

"Investigators are keeping a lot of the information in reference to the crime scene as well as the victims very close to the chest right now as they investigate to see if there is any new information we can get," Daytona Beach police spokesman Al Tolley said.

WKMG reported that detectives said they are investigating the differences and similarities in the women's deaths.

"We worried about it a lot," resident Cindy Honeycutt said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also involved in the investigation.

Anyone with information concerning these crimes is urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.

 

20060227: Serial Killer May Be To Blame For Daytona Deaths FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

A woman's body was found dumped for the third time in two months Friday.

Police think it could be the work of a serial killer, WESH 2 News reported.

A 45-year-old woman was found murdered in an alley on North Beach Street, another woman was left in a ditch off LPGA Boulevard, and on Friday, the body of a woman was discovered on a dirt road.

The police chief was very tight-lipped about it Friday night when asked if they're dealing with a serial killer. All he said was "no comment."


Police found the body in a wooded area after getting a very interesting 911 call.

Investigators brought out metal detectors to search for evidence after the woman's body was found on the dirt road. Police do not know who she is, and an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.

But someone else could have those answers. Police want to talk to a man who called 911 to tell them about the body. The man said he passed by, turned around and noticed there was what appeared to be a female lying on the dirt road.

Investigators said the mystery caller gave dispatchers an address to a beachside hotel where he could be reached, but they found an empty lot when they arrived. They traced the call to a pay phone at a Kangaroo Express on Mason Avenue, just a few blocks away from the body.

Police said they are investigating two other murders that may have similarities.

The day after Christmas, Laquetta Gunther's body was found in a fetal position off North Beach Street in Daytona Beach. She had been shot. Two weeks later another body was dumped near LPGA Boulevard. Police will not disclose the cause of death.

Anyone with information about the case should call Crimestoppers at (888) 277-TIPS.

 

20060116: Serial Killer May Be Behind Execution-Style Slayings FL Daytona Beach Serial Killer News

Two execution-style shooting deaths in Daytona Beach, Fla., in recent weeks are so similar that investigators are looking to see they were committed by a serial killer, according to a Local 6 News report.

On Dec. 26, the body of Laquetta Gunther, 45, was found between two buildings near 705 North Beach St. in Daytona Beach. Gunther was shot on the Dec. 24 and found two days later.

Invetigators said the body of Julie Green was found in a Daytona Beach drainage ditch over the weekend.

Sources told Local 6 News that both women were found partially clothed and shot execution style.

"They have apparently been found with their pants down and hands bound behind their backs and shot in the head," victim's friend Michelle McCoy said. "We know what we have been told. We know the women pretty well. And, it is like I said, who is the next intended victim."

Investigators said the women were likely killed by the same person but under federal guidelines a person can't be classified as a serial killer until they have committed three crimes, Local 6 News reported.

If you have any information concerning these crimes, you are urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.

 

20060830: Serial Killer Nurse Donates Kidney To Ex-Girlfriend's Brother NJ Newark Serial Killer News
A serial killer nurse who admitted killing 29 patients donates one of his kidneys to the brother of an ex-girlfriend. Charles Cullen had threatened to skip his sentencing hearing if he was not permitted to be the donor. In February, a judge approved Cullen's removal from prison for the operation. Cullen's public defender, Johnnie Mask, says the kidney went to Ernie Peckham, 37, of Rocky Point, New York. Mask tells The Associated Press, "They have not had a chance to speak" since the operations on Aug. 20. One day after surgery, Cullen went back to New Jersey State Prison. Peckham did not return to his Long Island home for a few days. The New York Daily News reports Peckham is married with four children. He is a metalworker and Cub Scout leader who was an Army reservist. Peckham told The Village Beacon Record that his kidneys began failing after a cut on his finger became a strep infection. Cullen confessed to using drug overdoses to kill 29 patients at nursing homes and hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He was sentenced to 18 life terms in prison.
 

20060822: Serial Killer Back in Prison after Surgery PA Allentown Serial Killer News
Serial killer Charles Cullen is back in prison tonight, recovering from his recent kidney donation. Cullen had the surgery on Saturday. The kidney went to a relative of one of Cullen's friends. Last year, Cullen said he would skip his sentencing unless he was allowed to donate. A judge agreed to allow the transplant and Cullen appeared before the victims' families. He's serving 18 consecutive life sentences in solitary confinement at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.
 

20060321: Serial Killer Nurse May Donate A Kidney NJ Newark Serial Killer News
A judge clears the way for New Jersey's worst serial killer to donate a kidney. If Charles Cullen and his doctors meet certain conditions, he may undergo an operation to remove one of his kidneys. The Associated Press reports the organ would then go to the relative of a friend. Cullen admitted to killing 29 patients in nursing homes and hospitals throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Prosecutors agreed to spare him from the death penalty if he identified patients who had been given lethal drug overdoses. The judge ordered that the operation must be paid for by the recipient's insurance company. The state's medical examiners must also certify the doctors prior to the procedure.
 

20060320: Judge allows serial killer to donate kidney NJ Newark Serial Killer News

A United States judge has agreed to allow New Jersey's worst serial killer to donate a kidney, but the killer and his doctors have to meet conditions.

Judge Paul Armstrong did not say when Charles Cullen might undergo the operation to remove one of his kidneys to be transplanted into the relative of a friend.

Cullen has admitted killing 29 patients with drug overdoses at nursing homes and hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in one of the worst murder sprees ever discovered in the US health care system. He has been sentenced to 18 life terms.

The judge's order, signed on Thursday, stipulates that all operation costs must be paid by the recipient's insurer.
 
Also, the surgery to remove Cullen's kidney must happen in New Jersey at a hospital certified by the state Department of Corrections, and the doctors who perform the operation must be certified by the state Board of Medical Examiners.

Cullen, 46, had tried for four months to reach an agreement with prosecutors to win permission for the donation.

His lawyer, Johnnie Mask, said the requirements made him "suspicious that someone in the Department of Corrections or at the attorney-general's office does not want this to happen".

New Jersey Attorney General's Office spokesman John Hagerty said the requirements reflect the fact that they are for "a serial killer who is not free to travel willy-nilly".

Cullen claimed to have killed 40 patients over a 16-year nursing career, and has said he killed out of mercy. Not all of his victims, however, were old or very sick.

 

20060311: Over Killer's Loud Objections, He Gets 6 More Life Terms PA Allentown Serial Killer News
Charles Cullen, a former nurse who committed one of the worst murder sprees in the United States health care system, was gagged with a cloth and duct tape at a sentencing hearing Friday after he began loudly repeating, "Your honor, you need to step down." Mr. Cullen had maintained almost complete silence every time he appeared in court, steadfastly refusing to explain why he killed at least 29 patients in two states. During an emotional sentencing hearing last week in New Jersey, he sat quietly with his eyes closed as victims' families said he was a monster and called him "garbage." But on Friday, facing another round of sentencing, this time for his murders in Pennsylvania, he infuriated the relatives of some of his victims by repeating his bizarre chant hundreds of times over 30 minutes, during which attempts to muffle him proved unsuccessful. "I feel very cheated," said Walter Henne, a relative who showed up in court to address Mr. Cullen and had to raise his voice to be heard over him. "Our last trump card was taken away from us by the childish behavior of Mr. Cullen." A judge ignored Cullen's outbursts and gave him six more life sentences. Mr. Cullen, who was sentenced last week to 11 consecutive life terms in New Jersey, administered lethal overdoses to seven patients in Pennsylvania, and tried to kill three others. Mr. Cullen had tried to avoid showing up at his sentencing hearings in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. On Friday, he told President Judge William Platt of Lehigh County that he was upset that the judge had said in a newspaper article that he was inclined to make Mr. Cullen show up at sentencing. Mr. Cullen then began repeating the statement and refused to stop. Sheriff's deputies wrapped a white cloth around Cullen's mouth, but that did little to muffle him. They added two pieces of duct tape and tried repeatedly to tighten the gag, but Mr. Cullen still managed to drown out some of the relatives and friends who were there to tell him the impact the murders had had on their lives. "We think you are a total waste of human flesh," Mr. Henne told Mr. Cullen on behalf of the family of his mother-in-law, Irene Krapf. It was not clear whether Mr. Cullen heard a word he said.
 

20060310: NJ serial killer to be sentenced in Pennsylvania PA Allentown Serial Killer News
A week ago, a former nurse who killed at least 29 patients was sent to prison for the rest of his life and confronted by his victims' relatives in New Jersey. On Friday, Charles Cullen was set to sentenced in Pennsylvania, where he was expected to again face relatives of patients he killed. Cullen, 46, pleaded guilty to 29 murders and six attempted murders in both states. He escaped the death penalty after agreeing to help prosecutors in seven counties identify patients to whom he had given lethal drug overdoses. He will serve his sentence in New Jersey. Cullen administered overdoses to seven patients at nursing homes and hospitals in Lehigh and Northampton counties, and tried to kill three others in one of the worst murder sprees ever discovered in the U.S. health care system. Cullen was to be sentenced Friday in Northampton County for the 1998 murder of 78-year-old Ottomar Schramm at Easton Hospital. Although he does not have to be present at that hearing, he has been ordered to attend his sentencing a few hours later in Allentown in Lehigh County, where he was expected to again come face-to-face with his victims' families. Last week, relatives of the 22 New Jersey victims confronted Cullen after he received 11 consecutive life terms, calling him a "monster" and "vermin." Cullen said nothing, his eyes closed. Cullen, who claims to have slain 40 patients over a 16-year nursing career, has said he killed out of mercy. Many of his victims were old and very sick. But the judge who sentenced Cullen in New Jersey told him he "betrayed the ancient foundations of the healing professions." Cullen was arrested in December 2003 after Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, N.J., notified prosecutors about questionable lab results involving patients under his care. The case prompted lawmakers in both states to pass legislation protecting hospitals and nursing homes from legal action when reporting disciplinary actions taken against employees.
 

20060304: How can a serial killer escape the death penalty? NJ Somerville Serial Killer News

A MALE nurse who admits killing up to forty patients with lethal injections has been spared a similar fate through an extraordinary plea bargain in which he pledged to help to identify his victims.

Charles Cullen, 46, a loner with a history of depression and suicide attempts, will escape the death penalty in return for pleading guilty to at least twenty-nine murders and co-operating with investigators looking into other suspicious deaths.

Cullen says that he poisoned up to forty people with hard to-detect medications — usually the heart drug digoxin — during a 16-year career working night shifts at ten nursing homes and hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

He has told authorities, however, that he cannot remember the names of four of his victims and that he randomly injected insulin into intravenous medical bags without knowing which patient they were for.

Prosecutors in all seven counties where he worked have agreed to spare his life in return for his help in identifying all those he killed.

As the families of victims harangued him as a “monster”, “one pathetic little man”, and “Satan’s son”, Cullen was sentenced on Thursday to 11 consecutive life terms for 22 murders and 3 attempted murders in Somerset County, New Jersey. That meant that it would be 397 years before he became eligible for parole.

He is due to be sentenced next Friday for seven more murders and three attempted murders in Pennsylvania.

Investigations remain open in two other New Jersey counties, complicated by the destruction of medical records and the uncertainty of Cullen’s memory.

Cullen is one of the worst serial killers discovered inside America’s health-care system, but he is not alone. Since 1975 there have been about twenty cases of medical personnel involved in the deaths of patients, including a notorious 1987 case in which Donald Harvey, a nurse, was sentenced to life in prison for killing at least thirty-four patients in Ohio and Kentucky.

Cullen was fired from five nursing jobs and resigned from two others amid questions about his conduct but he always found another job, partly because hospitals kept quiet to avoid being sued.

He went on a murder spree in December 2003, killing 13 patients in less than a year at the Somerset Medical Centre in New Jersey. He was caught when hospital officials discovered unusually high levels of digoxin in the victims.

He told police after his arrest that he had targeted “very sick” patients for what he described as mercy killings.

The facts contradicted his claim. His youngest victim was a 21-year-old student named Michael Strenko, who had been admitted to hospital for a non-fatal blood disorder that required doctors to remove his spleen.

Cullen also killed a 22-year-old car crash victim, Matthew Mattern, who was in hospital with severe burns.

 

20060303: Serial killer nurse gets 11 life terms for killing patients NJ Somerville Serial Killer News
 

A nurse who killed at least 29 patients was sent to prison for the rest of his life Thursday after his victims' loved ones angrily branded him ''vermin,'' ''garbage'' and a ''monster'' who ruined lives and shattered their faith in the medical profession.

Charles Cullen escaped the death penalty after making a deal with prosecutors to tell them which patients he killed with hard-to-detect drug injections.

Cullen, 46, pleaded guilty to murdering 22 people in New Jersey and trying to kill three others. He will be sentenced later for seven murders and three attempted murders in Pennsylvania. He has claimed to have killed up to 40 people during a career that spanned 16 years and 10 nursing homes and hospitals.

He received 11 consecutive life terms at a tense hearing in which he came face-to-face with his victims' families for the first time. Wearing a bulletproof vest under his sweater, Cullen sat quietly as relatives wept and yelled at him from a lectern about 15 feet away. Some said they wished Cullen could die as his victims did, by lethal injection.

''I want you to die tomorrow so that you can meet God tomorrow because guess what? There ain't no door out of hell, baby,'' said Debra Yetter Medina, the granddaughter of victim Mary Natoli.

 

20060302: Killer nurse gets 11 life sentences NJ Somerville Serial Killer News
On the day New Jersey's most prolific serial killer received 11 consecutive life sentences, family members of his victims gave the former nurse a verbal lashing in court.

Some had waited years, and defendant Charles Cullen had filed court papers trying to avoid the confrontation.

One by one, for nearly four hours, two dozen relatives of the dead told a New Jersey judge what Cullen had taken from them.

Some called Cullen names -- "Satan's son" or "monster" -- and told him to "burn in hell." Others simply remembered their lost loved ones.

Judge Paul W. Armstrong then handed down 11 consecutive life sentences. Parole is out of the question, since Cullen, 46, will not be eligible until he has served 397 years.

Cullen has pleaded guilty to committing 22 murders in New Jersey and seven in Pennsylvania. He also admitted attempting to murder six people.

Deaths not mercy killings

Cullen administered lethal doses of medication to patients under his care in nursing homes and medical facilities. He claimed at one point that he was an angel of mercy trying to end his patients' suffering.

But the judge rejected that notion. He said the court "would not countenance the characterization of these crimes as acts of human compassion."

Cullen said nothing during the hearing, sitting beside his attorney with his hands in his lap and his eyes lowered. His lack of visible emotion seemed to enrage some relatives of his victims.

They had plenty to say.

Dolores Stasienko called Cullen a monster for killing her father, Jack Toto, whom she described as a hard-working farmer, mechanic and war veteran.

"Burn in hell, Mr. Cullen, for all eternity," she said.

"Am I boring you?" asked Deborah Yetter-Medina, whose grandmother was killed. "Look at me," she demanded.

"Yes, I was the woman who coined the phrase 'Satan's son,'" she said. "You are Satan's son." Later, she told Cullen: "There ain't no doors out of hell, babe."

Richard Stoecker, whose mother, Eleanor, also was a victim, told Cullen: "Maybe you thought you could play God that day by injecting her, but she planned on living, she was a fighter."

As many as 40 victims

As part of his plea agreement, Cullen has been working with law enforcement officials to identify additional victims. He originally told authorities he killed up to 40 patients during the course of his 16-year nursing career.

Last month, when a deal to allow Cullen to donate a kidney to a friend fell through, he filed court papers seeking to waive his appearance at sentencing. (Full story)

The move outraged victim family members, some of whom have said addressing Cullen is an important part of their grieving process.

"He has to hear that we're human beings and that our father, son, mother, whoever, were human beings," said John Shanagher, whose father, Jack, was killed by Cullen. "Hopefully it will give us some sense of justice that it's, after all this time, finally done."

The judge ruled Cullen had to be present for victim impact statments and sentencing. Cullen will be allowed to donate his kidney now that he has been sentenced.

 

20060224: Serial killer must face victims' kin NJ Somerville Serial Killer News

Judge rules that killer nurse can't skip sentencing hearing

Serial killer Charles Cullen must listen to statements by relatives of his victims when he is sentenced for 22 murders, a New Jersey judge ruled Friday.

Cullen, a former nurse, had asked the court to waive his appearance at the sentencing March 2.

The move outraged victims' family members, some of whom said addressing Cullen is an important part of their grieving process.

"He has to hear that we're human beings and that our father, son, mother, whoever, were human beings," said John Shanagher, whose father, Jack, was killed by Cullen.

"Hopefully it will give us some sense of justice that it's, after all this time, finally done," he added.

Superior Court Judge Paul W. Armstrong also ruled Friday that Cullen will be allowed to donate a kidney to a friend after he is sentenced.

Where the organ will be harvested remains an issue. Cullen wants to have the operation performed in New York. New Jersey officials say it must be done in that state.

Cullen has pleaded guilty to murdering 29 hospital patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and attempting to murder six others, with drug injections.

As part of his plea agreement, he has been working with law enforcement officials to identify additional victims. He originally told authorities he had killed up to 40 patients in the course of his 16-year nursing career.

Armstrong ruled Friday that Cullen "possesses no fundamental right" by law to be absent from his sentencing, when the court will hear statements by the victims' families.

Cullen had withdrawn his request, but the judge went ahead with a ruling to prevent Cullen from changing his mind later.

 

20060217: Again, a Serial Killer Plans to Skip His Own Sentencing NJ PA Serial Killer News

A carefully constructed deal between the authorities and the convicted serial killer Charles Cullen to allow him to donate a kidney to a friend in exchange for showing up at his own sentencing has fallen apart, his lawyer said yesterday.

The authorities had hoped this month to sentence Mr. Cullen, a former nurse who has confessed to murdering up to 40 patients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Many relatives of his victims have been waiting for the day they can face him in court.

But that day, once again, seems far off. At a meeting yesterday, New Jersey authorities and Mr. Cullen's lawyer could not agree on the specifics of the kidney donation, and Mr. Cullen will now fight to skip his sentencing, his lawyer, Johnnie Mask, said.

"There is no deal now," Mr. Mask said. "We're nowhere."

Under New Jersey legal procedures, defendants can apply to skip their sentencing. Mr. Cullen initially indicated he would do this, provoking the ire of prosecutors and relatives of his victims.

But in December, Peter C. Harvey, then New Jersey's attorney general, announced that he had worked out a plan in which Mr. Cullen could donate his kidney if he agreed to come to his sentencing first. A memorandum of understanding was signed, and a transplant team at Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island, where Mr. Cullen's friend is a patient, agreed to do the surgery.

But Mr. Harvey left office in January, after New Jersey's new governor, Jon S. Corzine was sworn in. Officials at the attorney general's office and in the Corrections Department have now decided that Mr. Cullen cannot leave the state for the kidney operation because New Jersey officials do not have the authority to provide security in New York.

Mr. Mask said that prosecutors had yet to come up with a viable plan for the operation to be done in New Jersey. Until they do, Mr. Cullen will do everything in his power, including filing numerous appeals, to avoid his sentencing, he said.

"We're not going to give up what little leverage we have until we know this kidney operation is going to happen," Mr. Mask said. State officials, he said, "have been throwing up roadblocks ever since Harvey left."

John Hagerty, a spokesman at the attorney general's office, said that Mr. Cullen's sentencing has been scheduled for March 2 but that there are issues that could delay that. A presentencing hearing has been set for next week.

Mr. Hagerty said state officials "continue to work with local prosecutors so the sentencing can proceed."

 

20060113: Serial Killer Using Loophole That Delays His Sentencing NJ Newark Serial Killer News

First, he wrangled a way to avoid the death penalty, even though he confessed to murdering up to 40 people. Then, he tried to dictate the terms of his final court appearance. Now, he is refusing to cooperate.

Apparently, Charles Cullen, a New Jersey nurse who confessed to sneaking into hospital rooms late at night and injecting patient after patient with deadly amounts of drugs, is trying to exert his last bits of leverage from a solo cell in the Somerset County jail before he is sent away for life.

His maneuvering is infuriating the families of his victims and delaying their long-awaited rendezvous in court. It is also making a strange case even stranger, partly because of what was, until now, a little-known legal wrinkle in New Jersey that allows defendants to skip their sentencing.

"Can't we just get this over with?" said Lucille Gall, whose brother Mr. Cullen has admitted killing. "This is a sick little game he's playing."

Most of the prosecutors in the case seem unfazed or, at least, they talk that way.

"We don't need him anymore," said Wayne J. Forrest, prosecutor for Somerset County, N.J., where Mr. Cullen confessed to 13 murders. "We've completed our investigation. We got our guilty pleas. We're done."

John Morganelli, district attorney for Northampton County, Pa., where Mr. Cullen admitted killing one patient, said, "I could go to court right now and get a conviction, with or without his cooperation."

But in Essex County, it is a different story. Mr. Cullen told investigators he thinks he killed five patients at a hospital near Newark. The problem is, he does not remember whom. Until recently, he had been meeting regularly with Essex investigators, studying old charts, peering into old photos, trying to jog his memory.

So far, Mr. Cullen, 45, has pleaded guilty to murdering 29 patients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania medical facilities. Most of his victims were old and sick.

After he was arrested in 2003, he agreed to help investigators identify all of his victims - he estimated there were up to 40 - in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

But the deal began to fray last month, when Mr. Cullen announced he wanted to donate a kidney to an ailing friend. The authorities said he could do it only after his sentencing, which Mr. Cullen threatened to miss.

Many lawyers said that this was the first time they had ever heard of a serial killer trying to skip his sentencing. Earlier this month, prosecutors indefinitely delayed Mr. Cullen's sentencing, saying they needed more time to investigate the Essex cases and one mysterious death in Morris County. A few days later, Mr. Cullen struck back, saying through his public defender that he was finished cooperating.

"This isn't about a power trip, this is about a kidney," said his lawyer, Johnnie Mask. "Charlie's worried that if the sentencing keeps getting pushed back, it may be too late. He really cares about saving this life, ironic as that may seem."

On Friday, Peter C. Harvey, New Jersey's attorney general, said a new possibility had emerged: Mr. Cullen could be sentenced for the crimes to which he had already confessed, he could donate his kidney and then he could continue cooperating with the authorities on any open cases. "Our goal is to bring finality," Mr. Harvey said.

He added that prosecutors were mulling the options. If talks break down, there is an outside chance the plea agreement could be nullified and Mr. Cullen tried in court, exposing him to the death penalty.

What is giving Mr. Cullen his 11th-hour leverage is New Jersey's criminal procedure rule 3:21-4 (b), which says, "Sentence shall not be imposed unless the defendant is present or has filed a written waiver of the right to be present."

Mr. Mask and other defense lawyers say the law is on their side and that precedent upholds a defendant's right to opt out of sentencing.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, say judges have the ultimate discretion and can order sheriff's deputies to drag Mr. Cullen to court. Both sides vow to press their case aggressively, which only raises the specter of a long appeals process.

And now there's another potential complication. Christopher Bateman, a Republican assemblyman from Somerville, is pushing a bill that would force defendants to come to their sentencing. "It's only right that the families get to inflict a little pain, so to speak," he said.

But all the back and forth seems to be only compounding the pain.

"We want to know how Cullen, a criminal, a murderer, thinks he has so much power to decide what he can do and cannot do?" Tom and Mary Strenko wrote in an e-mail interview. "He is a killer and he has no right to decide anything!"

The Strenkos' 21-year-old son, Michael, was hospitalized in 2003 with a serious but curable blood disease. Mr. Cullen has confessed to killing him. "We are not giving up on this! No way!" the Strenkos continued. "It is as important to us as breathing air to have Charles Cullen once again look into our loathing eyes to personally see and hear the pain and suffering he has caused us for the rest of our lives!"

 

20060110: Serial Killer, Angry at Sentencing Delay, Stops Cooperating NJ Newark Serial Killer News

The New Jersey nurse who confessed to killing 29 people and has spent nearly two years cooperating with investigators decided abruptly on Tuesday that he would no longer help them.

The nurse, Charles Cullen, 45, was so upset about his sentencing being canceled last week that he is pulling out of a carefully constructed plea deal in which he had agreed to help identify his victims in exchange for not facing the death penalty, his lawyer, Johnnie Mask, said.

The authorities said that his refusal to cooperate could mean that prosecutors will seek the death penalty. It could also mean that many mysterious hospital deaths will not be resolved, leaving family members to forever wonder if their loved ones died naturally or were murdered.

Mr. Cullen has told the authorities he killed up to 40 people, many of them old and ailing patients whom he injected with lethal doses of heart drugs. But he did not remember all their names. So investigators have been struggling to identify them and, until Tuesday, were working closely with Mr. Cullen, sifting through mountains of medical records in the effort to jog his memory to determine exactly whom he killed.

The cooperation may now be coming to an end because of a kidney. In a strange concession to coax Mr. Cullen to come to his own sentencing and face dozens of grieving family members, New Jersey authorities agreed in December to allow him to donate a kidney to an ailing friend, as long as the operation was performed after his sentencing. But last week the authorities delayed the sentencing indefinitely, saying they needed more time to investigate hospital deaths in Morris and Essex Counties that Mr. Cullen may have caused. Mr. Cullen lost his patience, his lawyer said, and decided he would no longer help investigators.

"The deal is off," Mr. Mask said. "He's done. No more cooperation. Period."

"Now it's on the prosecutors' shoulders whether somebody else dies," Mr. Mask added, referring to the man who is waiting for a kidney donation.

Peter C. Harvey, New Jersey's attorney general, called that notion "ridiculous" and said it was not the prosecutors' role to find a new kidney for Mr. Cullen's friend.

"Our job is to protect the victims," Mr. Harvey said.

He also said, "It's strange that all of a sudden this guy has become a humanitarian after killing 22 people in New Jersey."

Paula T. Dow, the prosecutor for Essex County, where Mr. Cullen has admitted to killing several people, said Mr. Cullen's refusal to cooperate was "a clear breach of the plea agreement" and that "it now exposes him" to being brought back to court to face trial and possibly the death penalty.

But the reality of his ever being executed, at least in New Jersey, is slim because the state has not put anyone to death since 1963, and this week the Legislature passed a temporary moratorium on capital punishment. However, Mr. Cullen has admitted to seven murders in Pennsylvania, which does have the death penalty.

The authorities said on Tuesday that they were not sure if Mr. Cullen's action was a ploy to speed up donation of the kidney, or if he truly intended not to cooperate ever again. They added that they were unsure of what they would do next.

The development was the latest twist in a long case that began in 1987 at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. Mr. Cullen had a history of mental illness and suicidal behavior and gravitated to the night shift, where he was known among colleagues as solitary and strange, with a cold bedside manner.

In 1993 he was accused of killing a 91-year-old woman with a single injection of digoxin, a powerful heart drug that became his weapon of choice. But somehow he slipped through the cracks of the medical system and went on to work at 10 places in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania before he was arrested in 2003.

In 2004, he struck a deal with the authorities in both states to plead guilty and cooperate in exchange for at least two consecutive life terms, which in New Jersey meant he would not be eligible for parole for 126 years. But in December, as sentencing approached, problems arose, partly because of a little-known procedural rule that allows a defendant to skip his sentencing. Mr. Cullen said he might do that and deny his victims' families a chance to confront him.

Now it is not clear what will happen, with some prosecutors saying Mr. Cullen will be dragged into court, no matter what, while others are not so sure.

 

20060102: Serial killer nurse to face the families of victims NJ Newark Serial Killer News
This could be the week that Marie Romero finally gets to look Charles Cullen straight in the eye and tell him how much pain he caused by killing her sister.

Romero’s sister, Catherine Dext, was killed with an injection by the former nurse and admitted serial killer in June 1996 at Hunterdon Medical Center, where she had been admitted with a ruptured spleen.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin Thursday for Cullen, who pleaded guilty to 29 murders and six attempted murders during his 16-year nursing career in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Cullen, 44, has told investigators he might have killed as many as 40 persons, but authorities say that estimate appears to be inflated. Most of the victims were given an overdose of heart medication, usually digoxin.

The former critical-care nurse was able to move from hospital to hospital, despite suspicions he was killing patients, because the institutions did not report their fears to authorities.

The sentencing may stretch out over two days because so many victims’ relatives want to give victim-impact statements.

Cullen had filed papers to waive his right to appear at his sentencing, a move that outraged many of the families.

However, authorities had something Cullen wanted: the right to approve his request to donate a kidney to a relative of Cullen’s ex-girlfriend. With that leverage, authorities persuaded Cullen to agree to appear at the sentencing.

Cullen faces life for each of the New Jersey murders, and won’t be eligible for parole for at least 127 years. In exchange for his plea and agreement to help identify his victims, he escaped New Jersey’s death penalty.

State Attorney General Peter Harvey said he hopes to have all 22 New Jersey cases against Cullen resolved in this week’s sentencing. However, the sentencing could be postponed if no decision is made on whether to also bring charges in several open cases in Essex and Morris counties.

He also escaped death in Pennsylvania, where he still faces sentencing.

A judge there already has ordered him to be present.

 

20051207: Serial killer wants to donate kidney Serial Killer News

Former nurse Charles Cullen, who admitted murdering at least 29 patients in the Lehigh Valley and New Jersey by injecting them with lethal doses of drugs, wants to donate his kidney to save a life.

Cullen has asked prosecutors to allow him to travel to New York so doctors can perform the surgery, his attorney said Tuesday.

Johnnie Mask, Cullen's public defender, said prosecutors have agreed to let Cullen undergo the operation in New Jersey, but not travel to New York for it.

''I don't know what the objections are'' to doing the surgery in New York, Mask said. ''Security and expense have always been thrown up as an obstacle.''

Doing the transplant in New Jersey would mean a new transplant team and months of additional tests, he said.

In exchange for permission to give the kidney in New York, Cullen is willing to appear in court when he is sentenced to life in prison, Mask said.

''We're pushing prosecutors to do the operation in New York because the [potential recipient] doesn't have seven months to wait,'' Mask said.

Mask would not identify the intended recipient of the kidney, but The Star-Ledger of Newark, citing unnamed sources, reported in Tuesday's newspapers that it is a relative of Cullen's ex-girlfriend.

The man is in his 30s, a father of four and in poor health, Mask added. He lost kidney function as a result of infection.

Mask said the request for a kidney came about two months ago.

''Initially, some parties opposed the whole thing on the basis that Cullen could die on the table,'' he said.

Cullen, formerly of Bethlehem, had previously filed papers to waive his right to appear in court for the sentencing — an action that had enraged relatives of his victims, who want to confront him one more time.

At one point after Cullen's 2003 arrest, Mask said Cullen wanted to be able to explain his actions to his victims' survivors. But his position changed, Mask said, because the victims' families and victim-rights groups have been hostile.

By appearing at a sentencing, Cullen could answer at least some questions about his crimes.

Mask said he hopes to get an answer in the next few weeks on the transplant and any deal related to Cullen's appearance at the sentencings, which could come in the next few months.

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest would not comment Tuesday on the transplant offer or the deal Cullen has proposed.

In a series of court appearances in northern New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley, Cullen has admitted to 29 murders and six attempted murders over the course of his 16-year nursing career. In the latest plea Monday, he admitted to attempting to kill Somerset Medical Center patient Philip Gregor in 2003.

There could be more pleas in the future, though authorities and Mask agree that the investigations are winding down.

Cullen was arrested in December 2003 and charged with the murder of a patient at Somerset Medical Center and the attempted homicide of another. The next year, he pleaded guilty and agreed to help authorities determine exactly whom he killed in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

 

20051206: Serial killer admits another attempted murder while a nurse NJ Somerville Serial Killer News
Serial killer Charles Cullen on Mondy pleaded guilty to another attempted murder at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, in what his attorney predicted would probably be his last plea.

In a proceeding lasting less than 10 minutes in state Superior Court, Cullen, 45, a former nurse, admitted before Judge Paul W. Armstrong to attempting to kill critical care patient Philip J. Gregor of South Bound Brook with an overdose of insulin on June 18, 2003.

"Yes, I did," said Cullen when asked by Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Van Hise if he had administered the insulin to the patient without a doctor's orders. "To cause his death" was Cullen's reply when he was asked why.

The answers have become increasingly rote for Cullen, who has pleaded guilty to killing 29 patients at hospitals in five New Jersey and two Pennsylvania counties and attempting to kill five more between 1988 and 2003.

"News of every heinous act he committed to a patient in his care still shocks and saddens us," said hospital spokeswoman Vicky Allen.

Cullen, shackled and clad in mustard-colored prison scrubs, was brought to the courtroom from the Somerset County Jail in Somerville, where he is being held pending his transfer upon sentencing to a maximum security prison.

He has appeared increasingly gaunt since his arrest and arraignment following a series of suspicious deaths at Somerset Medical Center in December 2003.

Compared with Cullen's earlier appearances, the courtroom was almost empty. although Gregor's widow and sister were present, they declined to comment. "When he's sentenced, I'll have a whole lot to say," said Linda Gregor.

Cullen's plea was part of an April 29, 2004, plea agreement in which he was spared the death penalty in exchange for cooperating with investigators in identifying victims. Investigators have since been reviewing files with him.

 

20050710: New Revelations about Convicted Serial Killer Nurse PA Bethlehem Serial Killer News

Nurses who worked with serial killer Charles Cullen at a Pennsylvania hospital apparently warned authorities long before his arrest that he was suspected of killing patients.

That's according to a report today in The Morning Call of Allentown.

But Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin says there just wasn't enough evidence at the time to prosecute Cullen for anything.

And the forensic pathologist who investigated agrees.The pathologist reviewed 26 cases of patients who died while Cullen was working at Saint Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem.

He says the only evidence beyond "vague suspicions" was medical histories of people who died -- but who were already very sick.

After leaving Saint Luke's, Cullen worked at Somerset Medical Center in New Jersey, where he has admitted killing patients.

 

20050520: Cullen tells AG basic security could stop killer nurses NJ Somerville Serial Killer News

The state's worst serial killer is offering authorities tips on how to thwart people who want to follow in his footsteps.

Killer nurse Charles Cullen met for eight hours over two days this week with state Attorney General Peter Harvey, who wanted to find out how to prevent future murders by medical professionals.

Cullen, who says he may have killed as many as 40 patients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania by injecting them with lethal doses of drugs, told Harvey that tracking who takes medications from dispensaries could prevent hospital workers from killing patients.

"He believes that the best deterrent is the certainty of detection," Harvey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's newspapers. "Using more video surveillance. Using a swipe card that would allow hospitals to easily track who is withdrawing what medication. These are security controls that can be placed on rooms that house medications."

Thus far, Cullen has pleaded guilty to murdering 24 patients and attempting to kill five others

The meetings Wednesday and Thursday were part of what Cullen agreed to last year when he promised to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in return for avoiding the death penalty. Harvey said he plans to speak again with Cullen.

"Once we complete our discussions with him, we are going to compile a series of recommendations that we're going to give to the Board of Medical Examiners and the nursing board with suggestions of how to better protect patients and hospitals," Harvey said. "We're going to ask for their input and action."

Cullen, a former registered nurse, worked at hospitals and nursing facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over a 16-year career.

Harvey said the 45-year-old Cullen showed some remorse _ an emotion that he has not displayed in court.

"He accepts more responsibility than he expresses remorse, but he certainly does both," Harvey said. "I didn't expect it."

 

20050511: Siblings assert serial killer nurse murdered father Serial Killer News

The children of a former Madison resident say they have compelling proof that Charles Cullen, serial killer nurse, killed their father with massive doses of digoxin in January 1997 at Morristown Memorial Hospital.

Lynn Popelka of Netcong and Wayne Sarrow of Readington Township paid to have the remains of their father, Henry Sarrow, disinterred from Saint Vincent’s Cemetery in Madison in February and examined, they said on Wednesday, April 13, at the office of their attorney, Anthony J. Macri of Denville.

Cullen, who is in the Somerset County Jail, denies killing the retired postal worker while he worked at Morristown Memorial from November 1996 to August 1997, according to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. He has admitted to killing 24 patients, from 1988 to 2003, but none at Morristown Memorial, authorities said.

So far, Popelka and Sarrow have sued Morristown Memorial, alleging wrongful death and negligence, said attorney Macri, who added that he expects “a long fight.”

Macri said that autopsy reports have been sent to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, an office the siblings claim was unresponsive to past concerns that Cullen was responsible for their father’s death.

Autopsy Results

Henry Sarrow had been admitted to Morristown Memorial on Jan. 9, 1997, because of shortness of breath, and on Jan. 15 he suffered a fatal heart attack, which the family said was not expected. He was 77.

When Mr. Sarrow’s remains were analyzed after the February exhumation, they were found to have digoxin levels of 230 nanograms per kilogram, when a normal level should be 2 nanograms per kilogram, according to Macri’s office.

The levels of digoxin, a heart medication, found in Mr. Sarrow’s body were 125 times the amount that would be found in someone who was being given therapeutic doses, the family and its attorney assert. Such a scenario would fit Cullen’s preferred method of killing – administering overdoses of digoxin.

Mr. Sarrow had worked as a school crossing guard for the Madison Board of Education after his retirement as a postal worker.

Recognized Nurse

After Cullen was arrested in 2003 on charges that he administered a lethal overdose to one patient and attempted to murder another at the Somerset Medical Center, Popelka reportedly recognized Cullen from news photos as a nurse at Morristown Memorial during her father’s hospitalization.

According to attorney Macri, hospital records show Cullen was on duty during overnight hours before two cardiac episodes Mr. Sarrow suffered at Morristown Memorial, the second one fatal.

Cullen is reviewing records from hospitals where he worked, including Morristown Memorial, cooperating with authorities in exchange for a waiver of the death penalty. He is expected to be sentenced to multiple life terms in prison.

 

20041231: Serial killer spends time reading and doing “homework” NJ Somerville Serial Killer News

CULLEN scans medical files to determine if any patients were his victims.
Life in the Somerset County jail is a little like life aboard the USS Woodrow Wilson, the submarine where Charles CULLEN spent months isolated in the deep waters of the Atlantic. In jail, CULLEN has limited space, a bunk to sleep in, and three square meals served with military precision. He has reading material, time on his hands, and no place to go: the cold steel walls of the sub (where CULLEN developed an interest in nursing by helping to inoculate his shipmates) have been replaced by the cold stone walls of justice.
The only times serial killer Charles CULLEN leaves the jail is to travel to various county courts to admit he murdered patients at the 10 medical facilities where he worked in New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. CULLEN claims to have killed as many as 40 patients during his 16-year career.
CULLEN has made five such trips so far, pleading guilty to killing 24 patients and attempting to kill five others by injecting them with various medications that he stole from the hospital's drug supplies. There will be others.
In exchange for his cooperation and guilty pleas, authorities waived the death penalty and CULLEN instead must serve at least 127 years in a New Jersey state prison before he is eligible for parole. For now, CULLEN will remain inmate No. 71533 in the Somerset County jail, on the corner of Grove and High streets in Somerville and across from the prosecutor's office where he first admitted his deep, dark secret to detectives after being arrested last December.

 

20041117: Serial killer nurse pleads guilty to murders in Lehigh County PA Allentown Serial Killer News
Serial killer Charles Cullen pleaded guilty today to six murders and three attempted murders in Lehigh County, bringing the former nurse's tally to 23 deaths in two states...Whispering his replies to a judge's routine questions, Cullen, 44, formerly of Bethlehem, offered no details or excuses to the victims' relatives, dozens of whom packed the Allentown courtroom..."He took something away that was so precious to us and we're never going to forgive him," said Connie Keeler, of Bethlehem, whose father Cullen tried to kill..."He shows no emotion to what he did," she said...Keeler's father, Lehigh Valley radio personality Paul Galgon, 72, died of renal failure at St. Luke's Hospital near Bethlehem nine hours after Cullen injected him with the heart stimulant digoxin. Forensic evidence showed that the digoxin contributed to Galgon's death...Family members were not given a chance to address Cullen today, but are expected to have that opportunity at his sentencing, which may be a year away. Judge William Platt denied Cullen's request to be absent during sentencing, which won't occur until after Cullen is sentenced in New Jersey...Cullen has yet to meet with prosecutors in Essex County, where he worked in the burn unit at St. Barnabas Hospital for four years; or in Hunterdon County, where he worked at Hunterdon Medical Center for two years. His attorney, Johnny Mask, said it appears that Cullen did not kill anyone in Morris County, where he worked in 1997...Cullen has pleaded guilty to murdering patients in hospitals in Somerset County and Warren County, in New Jersey, and in Northampton County, in Pennsylvania. Usually, he injected overdoses into the intravenous bag of terminally ill, elderly patients. His youngest known victim was Matthew Mattern, a 22-year-old patient the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown...Cullen will be sentenced to life in prison as part of a plea agreement worked out with prosecutors in both states. He told authorities after his arrest in December that he killed as many as 40 patients in 10 hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey during his 16-year career as a registered nurse. Prosecutors have agreed not to seek the death penalty as long as Cullen cooperates by identifying his victims.
 

20041106: Pa. judge rejects serial killer's intention to skip sentencing PA Allentown Serial Killer News
A former nurse who has admitted killing 17 patients with lethal doses of medication at hospitals in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania will have to attend his sentencing hearing and face the families of his alleged victims in Lehigh County, a judge has ruled. ..Cullen, 44, is scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 17 in Lehigh County Court to six counts of homicide and three counts of attempted homicide. Families won't be able to confront him at the hearing but will be able to do so when Cullen returns to court for his sentencing, likely next year. ..On Tuesday, Judge William H. Platt told Cullen's attorneys that he will not accept Cullen's waiver of his right to appear at the sentencing. ..Cullen's attorney, public defender Johnnie Mask, said he was not happy with Platt's decision but does not intend to fight it. ..After his arrest in December, Cullen told investigators that he killed as many as 40 people during his nursing career. He has pleaded guilty or been charged in a total of 23 murders and has agreed to help investigators identify his victims in a deal to avoid the death penalty. ..The families of several of Cullen's alleged Lehigh County victims were pleased with the judge's decision. .."He needs to be there to face us," said Connie Keeler, the daughter of Paul Galgon, 72, a St. Luke's Hospital patient authorities said Cullen attempted to kill in 2001. "He should have to look into each of our faces and see the pain we are going through." ..When Cullen pleaded guilty to a single killing in Northampton County in September, the daughter of the elderly victim called Cullen a monster, talked about her father's life, and asked Cullen whether he remembered his victims. ..Mask said the hearing was hard on his client, and he would prefer to avoid them. ..In Lehigh County, Cullen is accused of killing five people and attempting to kill two others at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, where he worked from June 2000 to June 2002, and killing one person and attempting to kill another at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township, where he worked from December 1998 to April 2000. ..In neighboring Northampton County, he pleaded guilty to killing one person at Easton Hospital. ..In New Jersey, Cullen has pleaded guilty to killing 16 people and attempting to kill two others at Somerset Medical Center and Warren Hospital. ..Under his plea agreement, Cullen will be sentenced to life in prison in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and will serve the sentence in New Jersey. He will not be eligible for parole for at least 127 years. .
 

20041030: Serial Killer Seeking to Skip Sentencing PA Allentown Serial Killer News
A district attorney said he is trying to determine whether serial killer Charles Cullen can be compelled to appear in court so relatives of the patients he is accused of killing can confront him if he is sentenced to life in prison...Cullen, a former registered nurse, is expected to plead guilty in the next few weeks to charges he killed six patients at two hospitals with lethal doses of medication. Under the proposed plea agreement, Cullen would be spared the death penalty in exchange for helping to identify his victims...Cullen already has pleaded guilty to killing 17 during a 16-year career at hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey...Cullen has said through his attorney he wants to waive his right to be in court at sentencing...But District Attorney James Martin says he will do research to determine whether there is a legal way to force Cullen to appear. "In all my years doing this, I've never seen a defendant not come to his sentencing," he said...Margory Blakemore, daughter of Edward O'Toole, who died at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill in 2002, said she and other relatives should have the right to address Cullen face to face. "He should have to hear about how much pain he's caused," she said.. .
 


Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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