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20060831: Mother of Serial Killer speaks out Woking Surrey Serial Killer News

SERIAL knife killer Daniel Gonzalez ran naked in front of schoolchildren and parents two days before he first killed — but police were powerless to arrest him.

Notes that had not been updated by police relating to Gonzalez’s sojourn were lost and Surrey Police’s powers to deal with mentally-ill offenders were “very limited” — but officers were not negligent, an Independent Police Comp-
laints Commission report found.
The report, denied to the News and Mail following a request under the Freedom of Information Act, found police acted “appropriately and proportionately” following seven separate reports of a man running naked in Knaphill on September 13, 2004.
Gonzalez’s mother Lesley Savage and her partner Steven Harper say police could have averted the two-day killing spree, which left four people dead and two injured, if they had acted on their requests for Gonzalez to be detained under the Mental Health Act.
The commission’s report, completed in July 2005 following the couple’s complaints, found police were not negligent in dealing with Gonzalez after he was discovered running naked and looking “distressed”.
Two officers, PCs Fellows and Rowley, were called to Knaphill at just after 8am on September 13 to search for Gonzalez.
Both officers, who the report says were “not at fault”, were unable to locate him.
Gonzalez, an untreated paranoid schizophrenic whose police file contained warnings “for weapons, mental health issues and officer safety”, was not identified as the naked man until later that morning when Mr Harper visited Woking Police Station.
Officers took no further action and two days later Gonzalez slit the throat of a woman in Worthing and his attacks continued until September 17 when he was arrested in London.
Mr Harper said that he went to the police expecting Gonzalez to be taken into hospital because of his mental state, as had happened twice before.
Ms Savage said her partner asked not to be identified “because he was nervous of upsetting Daniel” but gave his address and made it clear Gonzalez was there at the time.
Mr Harper spoke to Jackie Dore, a receptionist at Woking Police Station who has since been promoted and now works elsewhere.
Her statement is at odds with Mr Harper’s and the notes she took have been lost.
The report states that Dore said Mr Harper “refused to give his name and address as he did not want police involvement”, but was “unable to recall whether the man had said Daniel was back at home”.
The report states even if police had acted, their options under the Mental Health Act would have been “limited”. It adds: “The policy should have been updated, or at least reviewed, in July 2004 and was not.”
Police could have sought a warrant from magistrates to have Gonzalez removed, or contacted a social worker who could have authorised him to be taken to hospital.
Ms Savage did contact a mental-health social worker, named only as Mr Kiza in the report, but it states: “she described him as indifferent and passive. This made her perturbed and angry.”
Ms Savage was adamant on  Tuesday that a different approach on September 13 would have averted the tragedy that unfolded later that week. She said: “They definitely would have seen he was completely ga-ga if they had come here. They would have seen he was psychotic.
“The night after he was questioned in court he bit through his arm so badly he had to be taken to hospital. Nobody normal bites through their arm to the bone do they?”
Surrey Police declined to comment on the report or its recommendation that reception staff should have bound books for notekeeping.

 

20060706: Serial killer appeal bid refused London Serial Killer News
A man who killed four people in London and Sussex and tried to kill two others has been refused leave to appeal against his "life means life" sentence. Daniel Gonzalez, 26, of Woking, Surrey, was given six life sentences at the Old Bailey after being convicted in March. His lawyer said a 30-year tariff should have been imposed because of his young age and mental health problems. Judges refused the bid, saying Gonzalez took pleasure in cruel and premeditated killings, and could attack again. When Gonzalez was sentenced for the knife-attack killings, which happened in 2004, judge Ann Goddard told him that in his case "life should mean life". The trial had heard that Gonzalez, of Southend Avenue, wanted to be remembered as a famous serial killer.
 

20060317: Serial killer gets six life terms London Serial Killer News

A man who fantasised about being a serial killer has been given six life sentences for knifing four people to death and trying to kill two others.
Daniel Gonzalez, 25, from Woking in Surrey, showed no emotion as Old Bailey judge Ann Goddard told him that in his case "life should mean life".

Gonzalez was convicted of killing two men and two women in Sussex and London over three days in September 2004.

He will start his sentence at Broadmoor maximum security hospital.

The killer is considered to be one of the Berkshire institution's most dangerous patients.

As the 25-year-old was led to the cells on Friday, a relative of one of his victims clapped in the public gallery and shouted "goodbye".

After his arrest Gonzalez told police he had wanted to kill at least 10 people and be remembered as a "famous serial killer".

 
From left to right clockwise: Derek and Jean Robinson, Marie Harding and Kevin Molloy

He said he wondered what it would be like to be Freddy Krueger, a grotesque serial killer from the Nightmare on Elm Street horror films, for a day.

The defence had argued Gonzalez should only be found guilty of manslaughter through diminished responsibility because voices in his head told him to kill.

The prosecution agreed he had a personality disorder, but said it was not a mental illness.

The jury took just 90 minutes to agree and convict him of murder on Thursday.

His victims were: Marie Harding, 73, who was stabbed to death in West Sussex; Derek Robinson, 75, and his wife Jean, 68, who were attacked in their home in Highgate, London; and Kevin Molloy, 46, who was murdered in a north London street.

The men who survived his attacks were Peter King, 61, in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and Koumis Constantinou, 59, in north London.

 

20060317: Serial killer Gonzalez told life means life London Serial Killer News
Multiple killer Daniel Gonzalez was given six life sentences at the Old Bailey today for knifing to death four people and attempting to murder two others. The 25-year-old showed no emotion as Judge Ann Goddard recommended that in his case: "Life should mean life." A relative of one of his victims clapped in the public gallery and shouted "Goodbye" as he was led to the cells. Gonzalez - who wanted to become a notorious serial killer - is expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars. But he will start his sentence at Broadmoor maximum security hospital where he is considered one of their most dangerous patients. He was convicted by a jury yesterday of murdering two women and two men and knifing two other men in random attacks over three days in September 2004. Jurors decided that he was a drug crazed, cold-blooded murderer and not suffering from mental illness as he claimed. Gonzalez's ambition was to be a famous serial killer of "at least 10 people" in a campaign of murder stretching from the south coast of England to London. He "wanted his 15 minutes of fame." He was high on drugs, bored and wanted to kill as many people as possible. He later confessed to killing all his victims, saying: "I am sorry. I just want to get locked up ... in fact I should go into the electric chair." But when he settled into life at Broadmoor, the maximum-security hospital, he told a psychiatrist he still had time on his side: "I think I will be out in eight to 10 years." Gonzalez - who told police that he wondered what it would be like to be the Nightmare On Elm Street's Freddy Krueger for a day - feigned mental illness long before the murders. After his arrest, he again tried to manipulate psychiatrists into believing that voices commanded him to kill. Richard Horwell, prosecuting said that "the excuse of being under the control of voices is often fabricated - it is a caricature of mental illness. He has fabricated such symptoms in the past." Mr Horwell told the jury Gonzalez was a "psychopath" who "killed because of the callous, cold person he is. "It is his very personality that led him to kill - disinhibited by a cocktail of drugs and alcohol." Gonzalez's defence lawyers accepted Gonzalez had killed each of his victims. But they claimed he was suffering from auditory hallucinations - voices commanding him to kill - which diminished his responsibility in law and meant he was guilty of manslaughter and not murder. The prosecution agreed that he had an personality disorder but did not accept he was suffering from schizophrenia. The jury agreed with the prosecution and delivered unanimous murder verdicts in just 90 minutes. Gonzalez, 25, from Woking, Surrey, had denied murdering all four victims. He admitted the attempted murder of two people he also attacked. His murder victims were Derek Robinson, 76, and his wife Jean, 68, from Highgate, north London, and Kevin Molloy, 46, who was killed in Tottenham, north London, on September 17, 2004, and Marie Harding, 73, who was murdered two days earlier near Worthing, Sussex. The two victims he tried to kill were Peter King, 61, in Portscreek, Portsmouth, on September 15 and Koumis Constantino, 59, in Hornsey, north London, on September 17.
 

20060316: "I want to be a famous serial killer" London Serial Killer News
A horror film fanatic who wanted to be an infamous serial killer was found guilty on Thursday of murdering four strangers during a three-day rampage through southern England. Daniel Gonzalez, 25, compared his murders to those in the film "Halloween" and told police he wanted to know what it would be like to be "Freddy Krueger for the day" -- referring to the crazed killer from the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" movie. Gonzalez, who also said he wanted to carry out a massacre similar to the 1999 killings at Columbine High School in the United States, began his murderous spree on September 15, 2004. He travelled to Hilsea on the south coast and tried to cut the throat of a 67-year-old man who was out with his wife, walking his dog. The man fought him off but later that afternoon Gonzalez headed up to Woking near London and stabbed to death Marie Harding, 73, as she was out walking in a secluded area. Early the next day, he used two knives to stab to death 46-year-old Kevin Molloy who had been out drinking in a pub in north London. Just an hour later, he broke into a house not far away and tried to kill the occupant. However he ran away after the men put up a fierce struggle. Shortly afterwards, he bought some new knives and then went to the home of Derek Robinson, 75, and his wife Jean, 60, and stabbed them both to death. He was arrested a few hours later at a station. HEARING VOICES Gonzalez, who had admitted two counts of attempted murder, had denied murder, saying he was a schizophrenic and had been under the command of voices. But a jury at the Old Bailey took just over an hour to find him guilty of murder. "We suggest that Gonzalez is a psychopath who killed because of the callous, cold person that he is," said prosecutor Richard Horwell. "He wanted to kill for his own personal pleasure." During the trial, the court heard how Gonzalez had told doctors he went on the rampage because he was bored. "I watched horror movies and that all the time, fantasy and not real and that," he had told detectives. "I just thought about doing it, man -- what would it be like just to be maybe Freddy Krueger or something like that, just for one day." Police called his murders "shocking and brutal". "Gonzalez admitted he was an individual intent on killing. He was clever and manipulative and did not want to accept responsibility for what he had done," said Detective Chief Inspector Dave Cobb. "He wanted to be remembered as a famous serial killer, but I hope he is forgotten and that we only remember his victims and the families that survive them." He will be sentenced tomorrow and faces a mandatory life jail term.
 

20060304: Suspect killer "wanted to be Freddie Kruger" London Serial Killer News

A HORROR movie fan who wanted to become a notorious serial killer allegedly went on a three-day killing spree, stabbing to death four people including an elderly Highgate couple.

Daniel Gonzalez, 25, from Woking, Surrey, is also alleged to have penned a grizzly note after his first murder, saying: "I have got to say this: it felt really, really, really good. One of the best things I have done in my life."

Gonzalez is accused of killing retired consultant paediatrician Derek Robinson, 76, and wife Jean, 68, a retired music teacher, at their home in Makepeace Avenue on September 17, 2004.

An hour earlier, according to the prosecution, Gonzalez forced his way into the home of Koumis Constantino, 59, in Frobisher Road, Hornsey, stabbing him in the upper arm and chest, and slashing at his arms.

continued...
Mr Constantino survived the onslaught by defending himself with a children's swing, while his wife beat the attacker with a pair of slippers.

Gonzalez also stands accused of killing Tottenham man Kevin Molly, 46, in the early hours of September 17, stabbing to death another pensioner in Hove, Sussex, on September 15, and attacking a 61-year-old man in Portsmouth.

Richard Horwell, prosecuting, said: "In September 2004, the defendant pursued a campaign of murder from the south coast to London. When he was interviewed by police, he said he wanted to kill at least ten victims, thereby becoming a renowned serial killer.

"He was prevented from achieving his ambition because on the third day of his campaign he was arrested in central London. By then he had attacked six people in five separate incidents. Four of his victims had died.

"On each occasion he was armed with a knife and the two survivors owe their lives to a combination of chance and the opportunity to defend themselves.

"Later the defendant told officers he used to watch a lot of horror films and wondered what it would be like to be Freddie Krueger for a day."

Gonzalez, who sat impassively in the dock, flanked by medical staff, pleaded not guilty yesterday to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but admitted four counts of manslaughter and two of attempted murder.

Compelled by voices

Mr Horwell told the court that forensic evidence proves beyond doubt' Gonzalez was the killer. He said: "After these events Gonzalez has claimed he was acting under the control and command of voices, he was being compelled by the voices to kill.

"We do not accept the veracity of these claims. The details not only change from claim to claim, but Gonzalez has accepted in the past he has deliberately fabricated symptoms of a mental illness in order to avoid being sent to prison."

The prosecutor continued: "The evidence suggests that he had become bored and frustrated with his existence. When interviewed by the police, he said that he had no friends and had not had a girlfriend for ages.

"He said that he spent a lot of his time playing computer games and added that he could not cope with growing up to be a man he was very much a loner."

The trial continues.

 

20060302: Horror fantasy of killer 'obsessed by Freddy Krueger' London Serial Killer News
A SCHIZOPHRENIC who murdered four people to fulfil his ambition of becoming a serial killer was obsessed with horror films and wanted to be Freddy Krueger, a jury was told yesterday.

Daniel Gonzalez, 25, told police that he wanted to spend a day in the life of the violent star of the A Nightmare On Elm Street films. In the movies the character wears a glove fitted with knives and terrorises people in their dreams.

When the unemployed loner’s home in Woking, Surrey, was searched a magazine called Freddy Krueger’s Nightmares was found, the Old Bailey was told. Gonzalez later told police that voices were telling him to be the horror movie character.

Richard Horwell, for the prosecution, said that Gonzalez, who stabbed three pensioners and a pub landlord to death and seriously wounded two other strangers, had written a rambling note to himself after beginning his three-day killing spree in September 2004.

In the note, found in a left luggage locker at King’s Cross station, he mocks his first two victims and promises to become a famous serial killer, slaughtering as many as ten people. Gonzalez slashed Peter King, 61, in Portsmouth before travelling to Worthing, West Sussex, where he stabbed Marie Harding, 73, as she walked home.

Gonzalez boasted in his letter that, next to taking drugs, killing was the best thing he had done. He wrote that Mr King only lived because the knife he wielded was too small.

Gonzalez then went to London and stabbed to death Kevin Molloy, a 46-year-old publican who was returning from a night out in Tottenham.

Later he broke into the terraced home of Koumis Constantinou, 59, in Hornsey, North London, where he stabbed Mr Constantinou, who had come downstairs after hearing breaking glass, in the arms and chest.

Mr Horwell said that the pair became locked in “arm-to-arm combat”, adding: “Fighting for his life, Mr Constantinou took hold of the hand which held the knife and attempted to twist it. The defendant tried to bite Mr Constantinou’s hand and Mr Constantinou bit the defendant’s neck.”

Mr Constantinou’s wife ran outside and screamed for help as Gonzalez fled. He took a taxi to a hardware store and bought a long-bladed knife before going to the home of Derek and Jean Robinson in Highgate, North London, where he stabbed them both to death.

Mr Horwell said that within minutes, a decorator arrived and discovered the bodies in a pool of blood. Gonzalez, who was naked and preparing to take a shower, told the man: “Sorry about this, mate.”

As the decorator ran off to raise the alarm, Gonzalez left the house after ransacking drawers for cash. Gonzalez later told police: “As soon as I got in there, I had a breather and I thought, ‘OK, got it into my head. Ready, steady, go’, and then I did it.”

He went to University College Hospital in Central London where he had stitches to deep cuts to his hands and treatment to a cut lip after giving a false name. He said that he had received the injuries from broken glass. He was followed before being arrested at Tottenham Court Road Tube station.

Gonzalez, who attends court from Broadmoor, the maximum security hospital, admits attempting to murder Mr King and Mr Constantinou but denies murdering Mrs Harding, Mr Molloy and Mr and Mrs Robinson between September 15 and 17, 2004. He admits manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility.

“There is agreement that the defendant was suffering from an abnormality of mind but the extent of that abnormality is in dispute,” Mr Horwell said.

The trial continues.

Excerpts from a letter written by Gonzalez and found by police among left luggage at King’s Cross Station, London:

“I will be a serial killer I mean it I promise. I will be a serial killer. I am gonna make sure I get to London and kill some old bill as soon as I can. Sorry Katrina. I will kill as many old bill as I can as best I can”

He adds: “So when the death toll reaches 10 which is at one”

Referring to attack on Peter King: “My first time I did my best for my first time, but the knife was too small”

Referring to Marie Harding: “Proper, bloodbath . . . It felt really really really good. One of the best things I’ve done in my life, from Zippy (his nickname). Only better is life life pills, K (Ketamine), puff (cannabis) tecno hardcore etc etc etc”

 

20060301: Murder accused 'wanted to be a serial killer' London Serial Killer News

AN UNEMPLOYED loner killed a couple from the Yorkshire Dales during a murderous campaign to fulfil his ambition to become a notorious serial killer, a jury heard yesterday.
Daniel Gonzalez, 25, from Woking, Surrey, wanted to murder at least 10 people in the hope of becoming an infamous serial killer.

He is alleged to have stabbed Derek and Jean Robinson to death. Dr Robinson, a retired paediatrician, 75, and his wife, 68, a retired music teacher who had worked at the former Queen Anne's School, York, were found dead by a decorator in the hallway of their home in Highgate Hill, London.
The couple had split their time between the capital and Cowgill in the Dales for more than 30 years.
Gonzalez, who denies all charges, is also accused of the murders of pub landlord Kevin Molloy and grandmother Marie Harding, 73.
Mr Molloy, 46, was found stabbed to death in Tottenham High Road, north London.
Mrs Harding's body had been discovered on a country path in Highdown, West Sussex, two days earlier.
Shortly after the trial started at the Old Bailey in London yesterday, the jury was discharged after a member was recognised by a relative of one of Gonzalez's alleged victims. The trial will start again today.

 

20060228: Jobless man dreamt of being a famous serial killer London Serial Killer News

A 25-year-old loner set out on a campaign of murder stretching from the South Coast to London in an attempt to become a serial killer, the Old Bailey heard today.

Daniel Gonzalez killed four people, chosen at random, in three days. After his arrest he allegedly told police that he had wanted to commit at least ten murders to guarantee his notoriety.

Mr Gonzalez, 25, from Woking, Surrey, denies four charges of murdering two women and two men. The court heard that he killed Marie Harding on September 15, 2004, and Jean and Derek Robinson and Kevin Molloy two days later on September 17.

Richard Horwell, prosecuting, told the jury that it was accepted by the defence that Mr Gonzalez was the killer on each occasion.

The prosecution has refused to accept a plea of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. He has claimed that he was acting under the control of voices telling him to kill.

Mr Horwell said: "The details not only change from claim to claim but Gonzalez has in the past accepted that he has deliberately fabricated symptoms of a mental illness in order to avoid being sent to prison. We suggest the defendant is both untruthful and manipulative."

Mr Gonzalez was 24 and living with his mother at the time of the murders. "He was unemployed and has achieved very little in his life. The evidence suggests he had become bored and frustrated with his existence," said Mr Horwell.

"He said he had spent a lot of his time playing computer games and added that he could not cope with growing up to be a man. He was very much, on the evidence, a loner," Mr Horwell said.

On Tuesday September 14 he spent the day in bed, the court heard. The following day he was to commit his first attack.

"He was still in bed after his mother had left for work but left home later that morning intending to kill his first victim. He took a steak knife from the kitchen drawer and he must have decided to pursue his terrible campaign far away from home," Mr Horwell said.

He boarded a train for Portsmouth, alighting at Hilsea at 11.12am. About 20 minutes later, he attacked his first victim."

Mr Horwell said that Mr Gonzalez found an isolated area not far from the station where Peter King, 61, and his wife were walking their dog. "The defendant approached them head-on and attempted to conceal the knife, which he held against his leg. As they closed on each other, he lunged at Mr King. After a struggle, Mr King pushed the defendant away with his foot.

"Gonzalez lost his grip on the knife which he dropped. He stood up and said in a calm voice: ’Sorry, I am a schizophrenic, I can’t help it’. He ran away at some speed," Mr Horwell said.

"It was Mr King’s courage and strength which not only saved his life but that of his wife, who would undoubtedly have been the next victim if Mr King had succumbed. When later interviewed, the defendant blamed the small size of the knife for his lack of success. It was not a mistake he would repeat."

Mr Gonzalez then took a train to Worthing, bought another knife and selected another isolated area in which to attack his next victim. She was Marie Harding, 73, who lived in Highdown, Southwick and was walking to her daughter's house.

"Mrs Harding was attacked, probably from behind. Her body was discovered some minutes later. She had two deep penetrating wounds, one to her neck and the other to her back, either of which would have killed her," said Mr Horwell.

Mr Horwell said that Mr Gonzalez returned home, having "succeeded in the start of his gruesome campaign to kill other human beings and, as he would have seen it, on his way to becoming a serial killer."

The next day Mr Gonzalez went to London. He spent 10 hours drinking in pubs in the West End then took a bus to Tottenham, North London, in search of a victim, the court heard.

At 5am the next morning he spotted Kevin Molloy, 46, in the High Road and attacked him with both knives. Mr Molloy died on the pavement from wounds to his face, neck, chest and abdomen.

An hour later Mr Gonzalez butchered Derek Robinson, 75, a retired paediatrician, and his wife Jean in their home in Highgate, North London. He was arrested later that day at Tottenham Court Road Tube station.

* The jury was discharged after it emerged one person knew a relative of one of the dead people. The case is due to reopen before a new jury tomorrow.

 

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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