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  ROSS Michael Bruce *2005/05/13 USA ... ... ... 6+
aka Hartford CN
 : ... ... ... ...
Verdict/Urteil: Death by Lethal Injection
 
Serial Killer Michael Bruce ROSS
 
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20050513: US serial killer executed CT Hartford Serial Killer News

A serial killer who struggled to hasten his own death - and was forced to prove he wasn't out of his mind - was put to death on early Friday in New England's first execution in 45 years.

Michael Ross, 45, died by lethal injection after fighting off attempts by public defenders, death penalty foes and his own family to save his life.

"The execution of Michael Bruce Ross has been carried out,"Warden Christine Whidden said shortly after Ross was pronounced dead at 2.25 am.

His was the 22nd execution in the United States in 2005. In McAlester, Oklahoma, a man convicted of beating and stabbing an Oklahoma City motel clerk and pouring acid down his throat was put to death Thursday. There were 59 executions last year in America.

Ross was sent to death row for the murders of four young women and girls in Connecticut in the 1980s, and confessed to four more such slayings in Connecticut and New York. He also raped most of the women.

On Thursday, a federal appeals court in New York and the US Supreme Court rebuffed a lawsuit brought on behalf of Ross' father that claimed the execution would lead to a wave of suicide attempts among Connecticut inmates. The courts also rejected an attempt by Ross' sister to intervene in his case and stop the execution.

Death penalty opponents warned that Ross' execution could break down a political and psychological barrier against capital punishment in New England and start a domino effect in the region.

"The whole thing is just disheartening to me and I think we're going to live to regret this day,"said attorney Antonio Ponvert III, who represented Ross' father and filed several lawsuits trying to block the execution.

Last winter, Ross announced he was abandoning all remaining appeals - which could have kept him alive for many years - because his victims' families had suffered enough.

"I owe these people. I killed their daughters. If I could stop the pain, I have to do that. This is my right,"the former insurance agent and Cornell University graduate said last year.

Desperate to save his life, public defenders and Ross' family argued that Ross suffered from 'death row syndrome' - that is, he had become deranged from living most of the past 18 years under a death sentence.

Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal said Ross had the right to give up his appeals. "What we've seen in the last weeks and months are intermeddlers, and third parties seeking to delay or derail the lawful process,"he said.

 

20050503: Another delay in the lethal injection of serial killer CT Hartford Serial Killer News
There's been another delay in what could be New England's first execution in 45 years.The Connecticut Supreme Court has postponed for two-days the lethal injection of Michael Ross, who admitted killing and raping eight women in the early 1980s.

The delay will allow the court to decide if an attorney appointed to represent Ross in a competency hearing may continue to try to block the execution.

Ross wants his death expedited. He has fought attempts by public defenders, death penalty opponents and his own family to stop the execution.
 

20050430: Woman who survived Ross attack speaks against death penalty CT Hartford Serial Killer News

Just as the Connecticut House of Representatives began a formal debate on the state's death penalty law, one of the living victims of serial killer Michael Ross was speaking out against the death penalty.  However, the bill to abolish the death penalty failed by a vote of 89-to-60 in the House of Representatives.

Vivian Dobson of Plainfield was attacked, raped, was able to hold a knife to serial killer Michael Ross' chest, but was unable to kill him. She begged on behalf of her three children to be let go and, remarkably, he let her go 22 years ago this May.

Just as the house was to begin the debate, Vivian Dobson, her sisters and state Victim Advocate Jim Papillo entered the chamber to the hush of legislators.

Earlier in the day she had made a tearful appearance before television cameras.

"I'm so sorry to the parents because I lived and their babies died and I can't change that, but I don't want to be a part of killing somebody else.  I really don't and I don't think we should either because that's not what we're here for. We are not killers, he is but we're not," says Dobson.

She says that Ross is manipulating the news coverage, is not sincere about regrets for what he's done, and should not be let off so easily.

"He cannot get off that easily, to put him to sleep? Just to give him a needle and put him to sleep? Do you think those girls went to sleep? Those girls didn't go to sleep.  He raped them, he embedded fear in their souls before they left this earth. What he did to me, I have to live with. I have to heal in some form or way but I would like to say to him that I don't fear him anymore. He's got to fear me because I'm going to stop, as much as is possible, and keep on fighting to get rid of this death penalty so he can live and think about and dwell on every little thing he's done to those girls and what he's done to me."

She said that she has been in hiding for 18 years because of what happened to her.

"I don't go to work.  I can't go out and function like most people do, but I do live in my prison and I've been there for 22 years.  So if I have to sit in prison 22 years or more, so should he. He should know what a prison really feels like. He doesn't scare me, he may haunt me, he might share half of my body and half of my brain and I still fight to push him back, but I can tell you right now, the only one he should fear is God himself."

As her sisters fought back tears as she explained why she came forward today.

"I can't sit back in my prison, and watch everything that happened for the last 18 years with Michael Ross. It doesn't help me and I can't really say how the families feel, but I don't think it really helps them either. To take a life for a life is wrong."

And she made a plea for help.

"Right now where he sits he gets more benefits than I ever had.  He gets psychological help for free, he gets his medications for free, he has a computer, I don't have a computer, because I can't deal with the outside world."

It was revealed that Vivian got no services from the Victim's Advocates Office when she was attacked. She was never even told it existed.

She testified against Ross in the penalty phase of his trial because she says the families wanted her to. Vivian is not entitled to victim's compensation now because there is a six year time limit, a situation the victim's advocate is now trying to correct.

Governor Rell says that while she is opposed to repealing the statute, it was important for the House of Representatives to have the debate it had today.

 

20050410: Conn. serial killer fighting to end Death Row appeals CT Hartford Serial Killer News
 

20050410: Connecticut serial killer fighting to end Death Row appeals CT New London Serial Killer News
Serial killer Michael Ross, defending his right to give up his Death Row appeals, testified Friday that he wants to be executed next month even though he recently renewed a relationship with his former fiancee.

Ross says he wants to spare his victims' families additional agony, but his father and a court-appointed lawyer questioned that explanation, saying mental illness is driving him to commit state-assisted suicide.

Michael Ross, 45, is scheduled to die May 11 for killing four young women in Connecticut in 1983 and 1984. Ross has admitted to four other killings. The Cornell graduate would be the first person executed in New England in 45 years.

'I know what I must do'

Ross testified Friday that while his rekindled romance with a former girlfriend ''has complicated things immensely,'' he still wants to die.

Ross became involved years ago with Susan Powers, an Oklahoma woman who started writing him in prison after reading about him. They broke up two years ago, but she began contacting him again in the last few months and is encouraging him to fight his execution.

''I have not changed my mind. I know what I must do,'' Ross wrote in a letter to Powers in February. ''I can't say to the families of my victims, 'Hey, sorry, but my girlfriend is back and we might actually get married someday, and I'd like to see if this can/will work this time.' ''

Thomas Groark, a court-appointed attorney charged with proving that Ross is incompetent, tried to cast doubt Friday on his claims that he's acting out of compassion for his victims' relatives.

Groark pointed out that Ross wrote letters detailing his life on Death Row to media outlets, which put the killings back in the headlines. ''Did you consider the impact that might have on the victims' families?'' Groark asked.

''No. I did not,'' Ross replied.

State public defenders have argued that Ross likely suffers from ''Death Row syndrome'' -- severe mental health problems and suicidal tendencies that some theorize comes from severe isolation.

Thursday, the first day of the hearing, state psychiatrist Dr. Michael Norko testified that there are no signs Ross suffers from such a syndrome. New London Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford had previously ruled that Ross is competent to end his appeals.

 

20050408: Ross says rekindled romance not enough to keep him alive CT New London Serial Killer News
Not even a rekindled romance may be enough to keep Michael Ross from going through with his wish to become New England's first execution in 45 years.

The serial killer acknowledged Friday at his competency hearing that his renewed relationship with his former fiancee has complicated things, but he remains resolute in his decision to end his appeals and accept the death penalty.
Ross is scheduled to die May 11 for killing four young women in Connecticut in 1983 and 1984. He has admitted killing eight women in Connecticut and New York and raping most of them.

Ross became involved years ago while in prison with Susan Powers, an Oklahoma woman who started writing after reading about him on the Internet. They broke up two years ago, but she began contacting him again the past few months and is encouraging him to fight his execution.

"I have not changed my mind. I know what I must do," Ross wrote in a letter to Powers in February. "I can't say to the families of my victims, 'Hey, sorry, but my girlfriend is back and we might actually get married someday, and I'd like to see if this can/will work this time. So you will have to endure another 10 to 15 years of continual renewal of the pain I caused you. But hey, what is your pain compared to my happiness?"'

Ross acknowledges his decision is more difficult now.

"She has complicated things immensely," Ross said.

Powers and Ross write each other and talk on the phone regularly. Letters show that she visits him. They pick out television shows and watch them separately so they can discuss them later. Ross's favorite shows include "The Twilight Zone," "NOVA," "Survivor," and "This Old House."

Powers is not expected to testify when the hearing continues next week.

Ross' father testified earlier Friday that his son is selfish and said his reasons for volunteering for execution have nothing to do with sparing the families of his victims more anguish.

"I don't think he has any real compassion," Dan Ross said. "I don't think he has the ability to empathize with people."

Ross, a 45-year-old Cornell University graduate, was arrested 21 years ago, ending a three-year spree of attacks in Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Illinois and Ohio. He has said he decided last year to drop his appeals to spare his victims' families additional agony.

Thomas Groark, an attorney charged with proving that Ross is incompetent to make that decision, suggested Friday that Ross' wish to die is rooted in his psychological problems. Two years ago, after a third suicide attempt, Ross wrote that life in prison was becoming increasingly unbearable.

State public defenders have argued that Ross likely suffers from so-called "death row syndrome" _ a theory that solitary isolation can cause severe mental health problems and suicidal tendencies _ and Ross is trying to commit state-assisted suicide.

To show that Ross' desire to die is not altruistic, Groark questioned him on the stand on Friday.

Groark pointed out that Ross wrote letters detailing his life on death row to several media outlets over the years, which put the serial killer back in the headlines. Groark suggested this publicity may have forced the families to revisit the pain of losing their daughters.

"Did you consider the impact that might have on the victims' families?" Groark said.

"No. I did not," Ross replied.

New London Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford had previously ruled that Ross is competent to end his appeals. Ross came within hours of being put to death on Jan. 28, but the execution was delayed when his attorney, T.R. Paulding, announced a potential conflict of interest.

It was later disclosed that Chief U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny had threatened to go after Paulding's law license if he found that the attorney, in pressing for a prompt execution, had neglected or ignored evidence that his client was incompetent.

Edwin Shelley, father of Ross victim Leslie Shelley, said he was unimpressed by what he heard in court Friday.

"I don't think this changes anything unless they bring out some big, big guns or some big liars come Monday," he said.
 

20050407: Doctor: Serial Killer Mentally Competent CT New London Serial Killer News
A state psychiatrist Thursday stood by his earlier finding that serial killer Michael Ross is mentally competent in deciding to forgo further appeals and volunteer to be executed.

Dr. Michael Norko was the first witness to testify in new competency hearings for Ross, who is scheduled to die by injection May 11 in what would be the first execution in New England in nearly 45 years. He has admitted killing eight young women in Connecticut and New York in the 1980s.

"He clearly understands what's at stake," Norko said. "The evidence is this is his decision, which he makes in contrast to what his friends, supporters and lawyers have advised him to do."

Norko also testified that he's seen no evidence that Ross' decision was made out of despair and depression wrought by years of close confinement on death row.

"He's been able to cope OK on death row," Norko said. "Overall he has been able to utilize his strengths to adapt to his circumstances to the extent that it's possible to adapt to the circumstances."

Norko found Ross competent in December, but later questioned that finding after reading letters Ross wrote from prison. However, under questioning from prosecutor Kevin Kane, Norko didn't waver from his earlier findings based on a re-evaluation.

Ross' attorney T.R. Paulding and court-appointed lawyer Thomas Groark were expected to cross-examine Norko later in the day.

After hearing Norko's original findings, a judge ruled that Ross was competent, and that ruling was upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Ross came within hours of being put to death on Jan. 28, but the execution was delayed when Paulding announced a potential conflict of interest.

It was later disclosed that Chief U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny had threatened to go after Paulding's law license if he found that Paulding, in pressing for a prompt execution, had neglected or ignored evidence that his client was incompetent.

 

20050221: Execution date set for May 11 CT Hartford Serial Killer News

State Judge Patrick Clifford has set an execution date of May 11th 2005, for serial killer, Michael Ross. A special counsel has since been appointed to investigate claims that Ross is mentally incompetent and not as a result, in a position to cease his appeals and accept the death penalty.

Appointing such a counsel, is a means for Judge Clifford to avoid a repetition of the circumstances surrounding the last attempted execution of Ross, which was delayed at the eleventh hour due to a “conflict of interests” concern for defence attorney T.R. Paulding.

Paulding will remain with the case to support Ross in his quest for execution.

Special counsel, Hartford attorney, Thomas Groark, will take the counter position and argue that Ross is not mentally competent.

"This is the ideal resolution of the dilemma I was in and the dilemma the court system was in,'' said Paulding. "This allows me to do what I was hired to do, which is represent Michael Ross.''

New London State's Attorney Kevin Kane did not oppose the move but restated his assertion that Ross is competent and should be executed.

Michael Ross, now 45-years-old, was heavily guarded by correctional officers and judicial marshals when he attended the competency hearing. He pledged to cooperate with the proceedings but requested that he wishes his psychiatric visits to be videotaped in order that future challenges to his competency are prevented.

“Body language is just as important as what I say. I want whatever I say to be recorded,'' said Ross.

Chief Public Defender Gerard Smyth, who spearheaded the effort to gain a new competency hearing for Michael Ross, said he was pleased by Clifford's decision and would not be ruling out the possibility of himself re-entering the case.

“This shows that our position, which we've been advancing since early December 2004, was a legitimate position,” Smyth said.

 

20050201: Execution of Connecticut Serial Killer on Hold CT Hartford Serial Killer News
Prosecutors first ran into legal roadblocks and then out of time in their attempt to conduct New England's first execution in 45 years.

A court-issued death warrant for serial killer Michael Ross expired late Monday, after a week of nearly nonstop court activity and Ross' temporary reversal of his decision to give up his appeals and accept his death sentence.

State officials plan to seek a new death warrant, but lawyers say it could now be months before legal disputes are settled and the execution is allowed to go forward. Under state law, the execution cannot be scheduled for at least a month after a new warrant is issued.

"I long for the day when we can say that we've forgotten about Michael Ross, and I want everyone to remember that we should never forget his victims," Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano said. "It is my hope that sometime in the not-so-distant future we will finally be able to give their families a sense of justice."

The state Supreme Court on Monday granted motions from Ross' attorney and prosecutors for another stay of execution after Ross agreed to have his own competency examined.

The lethal injection at Osborn Correctional Institute in Somers was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed three times as new court challenges emerged.

Ross, 45, confessed to eight murders in eastern Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s. He is on death row for the killings of four young women and girls.

Last year, he decided to forgo further appeals of his death sentence and hired attorney T.R. Paulding Jr. to expedite his execution, saying he wanted to end the pain for the families of his victims.

On Monday, Paulding said he had been persuaded of the need to explore a phenomenon known as "death row syndrome." Public defenders had argued that years of harsh conditions on death row have coerced Ross to drop his appeals.

"Michael Ross' decision to forgo any additional appeals remains unchanged, but he has pledged his cooperation," Paulding said. "He recognizes that serious questions have been raised regarding previous expert findings and has decided to allow a more thorough evaluation of his competence."

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she believes all the delays show that the legal process works to protect all interests, but said sympathizes with families of Ross' victims.

"When the process of the competency hearing is complete, assuming he is found competent and there are no further legal impediments, the state should move forward with his execution," she said.

 

20050131: Serial killer's execution postponed again CT Hartford Serial Killer News
Connecticut officials have called off New England's first execution in 45 years after serial killer Michael Ross changed his mind and admitted he may be mentally incompetent.

Ross' attorney, T.R. Paulding, filed a motion in federal court in Hartford seeking a stay of the execution, which was scheduled for Monday evening, and asking for a new hearing to assess the killer's competency.

The motion capped a dramatic 72-hour period that saw Ross come within 90 minutes of being executed early Saturday morning, only to have Paulding ask for a delay, citing a potential conflict of interest.

Connecticut officials announced that Ross' execution, which had been rescheduled for 9 p.m. EST on Monday (2.00 a.m. Tuesday British time), was postponed again because of the motion.

"There will be no execution this evening," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

"We've said from the outset that Michael Ross can halt the process by exercising his legal rights as he's now done," Blumenthal added. "The law leaves us absolutely no choice."

Ross, 45, admitted killing eight women in the 1980s and was arrested in 1984 after a three-year spree of rapes and murders. Last year, he waived all remaining appeals, saying he wanted to be put to death to give closure to his victims' families.

However, third parties, including his father and Connecticut public defenders, sought to have the Ivy League graduate's execution delayed on the grounds that he was not competent to waive his appeals.

Cornell University-educated Ross fought those efforts in court and had argued he was fully competent to forgo his appeals, but the motion Paulding filed on Monday suggests he has changed his mind.

"Michael B. Ross concedes that, under the circumstances, his opinion of his own competence should take a back seat to a full, fair and complete assessment by this court of all of the proffered evidence," the motion said.

Gerard Smyth, the state's chief public defender who had been fighting since last month to have the execution put off, told Reuters he felt vindicated.

"I consider this a validation of everything we've been saying since December 1, 2004," Smyth said.

Ross' looming execution has sparked much public debate in the northeast United States, where executions are rare. Most executions in America take place in Texas and southern states.

Anti-death penalty activists in Connecticut were frustrated by Ross' insistence on being executed, making him what capital punishment experts call a "volunteer."

On Friday, a federal judge threatened to seize Paulding's law license if evidence emerged after the execution that Ross was indeed incompetent. Hours later, Paulding requested a two-day delay of the execution.

 

20050130: Serial Killer´s execution postponed to Monday CT New Haven Serial Killer News
A defense attorney for a serial killer who wants to be executed said Sunday that he will remain on the case, a day after he asked for a delay so he could explore a possible conflict of interest.

Defense attorney T.R. Paulding did not say what he had concluded about his role in representing Michael Ross, but legal experts had speculated that if there was a conflict of interest Paulding would step down.

Ross' scheduled execution was pushed back from Saturday to Monday night after Paulding asked for the delay. His request came hours after a federal judge criticized the attorney, saying he was not adequately investigating claims that Ross was mentally incompetent to make the decision to die.

Paulding was hired by Ross after he dropped his appeals and said he wanted to be executed.

Ross, who has confessed to eight murders in New York and Connecticut, would be the first person to be executed in New England since 1960.

 

20050129: Serial Killer Faces New Execution Hurdle CT Hartford Serial Killer News

Serial killer Michael Ross has tried for 10 years to speed his own death. On Saturday, little more than an hour before his scheduled execution, Ross' own attorney caused another delay, saying he needed time to examine his own potential conflict of interest.

Now attorney T.R. Paulding's relationship with his client _ and the ethics involved in helping him die _ are under close scrutiny. Ross hired Paulding last year to help him expedite his own execution, which would be the first in New England in 45 years.

"It's a good example of where the adversarial system breaks down," said Stephen Bright, a Yale law professor and director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. "There's nobody to tell the court, 'Wait a minute, maybe this isn't in his best interests.'"

Paulding is a death penalty opponent. And while he has insisted Ross is competent to make decisions about his punishment, he has also acknowledged that's because Ross is on medication to control his mental illness.

Paulding did not elaborate on the possible conflict of interest, but noted that his client did not ask for the delay. The execution was rescheduled for 9 p.m. Monday.

The request came just hours after a federal judge threatened to take Paulding's law license for ignoring evidence that Ross' motives were not as they seemed.

Ross has said he wants to die to end the anguish of his victims' families. But U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny said another inmate and a retired deputy warden have indicated that deplorable death row conditions may have played a significant role in Ross' decision.

"I see this happening and I can't live with it myself," Chatigny said in a telephone conference with Paulding, according to court records. "What you are doing is terribly, terribly wrong."

The allegations from the inmate and warden were included in an appeal filed by Ross' father. The Supreme Court denied the appeal Friday.

Chatigny warned that Paulding could lose his law license if the new information proved true, according to the records. But Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano said the warden and inmate did not show evidence that Ross was incompetent.

Michael Fitzpatrick, one of Ross' former attorneys and the head of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said Chatigny's actions are sound.

"What he's saying is that you've got an ethical duty to investigate his mental health issues, his competency, the voluntariness of his waiver, and you've also got an ethical duty to bring to light any information you have on those issues," Fitzpatrick said Saturday.

Paulding has defended his job of assisting Ross, a 45-year-old Ivy League graduate who confessed to eight murders in eastern Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s.

"I just thought it was the right thing to do, to give him a voice in court and give him a voice throughout," Paulding said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Paulding said his primary job is to advocate for his client, even if Ross' wish is unorthodox.

Defense attorney Hugh Keefe agrees: "You should do what a client wants, period. That's what you're paid for."

Ross hired Paulding last year after he decided to forgo all appeals and fired his public defenders. Paulding said he did not take the decision to represent Ross lightly.

"I felt that he had made a rational decision, and I felt that he deserved and needed someone who would be his voice," Paulding said.

He has since helped persuade courts that Ross is mentally competent and fought off attempts by the state's public defenders, Ross' own father and others to stop the execution.

Paulding's assurances that Ross is competent were a weighty factor in the courts' decisions to dismiss appeals, Fitzpatrick said.

"For Paulding, at the 11th hour to stand up and say, 'I may have some doubts,' is going to subject him to enormous criticism," he said.

Paulding has said he believes Ross is sincere in wanting to end the suffering of his victims' families. He said Ross is taking medication for mental illness and is much different from the man the families know.

That's little comfort to family members of his victims, who said they were shocked by the latest delay of Ross' execution.

"He's guilty. He wants to die. So if he isn't executed, whom would you execute?" said Lan Manh Tu, whose sister, Dzung Ngoc Tu, was Ross' first known victim.

The state must execute Ross by 11:59 p.m. Monday or its death warrant expires. That would force officials to go back before a judge and ask for a new one.

 

20050129: Connecticut Delays Serial Killer's Execution CT Hartford Serial Killer News

Connecticut delayed an execution early Saturday after the death row convict's lawyer cited a possible conflict of interest in representing the condemned man.

Michael Bruce Ross, 45, had been scheduled to die at 2:01 a.m., EST, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied two last-minute attempts to halt his execution, the New York Times reported Saturday.

But shortly before 1 a.m. state officials postponed the lethal injection until 9 p.m. Monday. The action came after lawyer T. R. Paulding said "a question has been raised about a conflict of interest about my continued representation of Michael Ross. I feel it is imperative to address this before his execution can proceed."

Ross, who was convicted in the rapes and murders of eight women during the early 1980s, has said he suffers from sexual sadism, which drives him to commit violent sexual acts.

In prison he took several medications, including medication for depression and anxiety, as well as a drug that lowers his testosterone level.

 

20050126: Court asked to override stay of serial killer's execution DC Washington Serial Killer News
Connecticut prosecutors asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to override a stay of execution for serial killer Michael Ross and allow New England's first execution in 45 years to proceed.

In a 35-page motion, prosecutors say that U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny of Hartford was wrong to postpone Mr. Ross' execution in order to schedule a competency hearing that would determine if his mental capacity had diminished from nearly two decades on death row.

Mr. Ross, 45, is on death row for killing four young women and girls in eastern Connecticut in the early 1980s. He also has admitted murdering four other young women in Connecticut and New York. He raped most of the victims.

Last year, Mr. Ross fired his public defenders and decided to forgo further appeals of his death sentence, which had been scheduled for Wednesday morning. The Connecticut Department of Correction has set a new execution date for Friday at 2:01 a.m.

Wednesday's appeal was sent to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It was not immediately known when she would make a decision or if she would refer the matter to the entire court. The nation's highest court has already received an appeal on another issue in the case filed by the Missionary Society of Connecticut, an arm of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ. The group argues it was wrongly kept out of the process.

Judge Chatigny issued the stay Monday after hearing testimony from a psychiatrist who testified that Mr. Ross' lengthy seclusion on death row may have made him incompetent to decide to end appeals of his death sentence.

Prosecutors appealed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel on Tuesday ruled that Judge Chatigny can hear evidence about Mr. Ross' mental competency as a way to determine whether the state's public defenders can intervene in the case and file motions on Mr. Ross' behalf.

Judge Chatigny allowed the public defenders to intervene Monday, but the appeals court said he should not have done so without first holding the competency hearing.

 

20050125: Conn. Serial Killer's Appeals Rejected CT Hartford Serial Killer News
The Connecticut Supreme Court on Tuesday rebuffed attempts by the father of a serial killer to intervene against his son's wishes and file appeals that could block his execution.

The court ruled that Dan Ross and public defenders had failed to show that Michael Ross was incompetent when he decided to accept his death sentence.

A separate appeal is under way in federal court.

Ross last year fired his public defenders and decided to forgo further appeals. He had been scheduled this week to become the first person executed in New England in nearly 45 years, but a federal judge Monday delayed the lethal injection to hold a full hearing to determine whether Ross was mentally competent when he dropped his appeals.

Prosecutors appealed that ruling to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the case could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

Ross has admitted killing eight young women and girls and raping most of them, and is facing a death sentence for the murders of four young women in Connecticut in the 1980s.

 

20050124: Federal judge delays execution of Conn. serial killer CT Hartford Serial Killer News
A federal judge on Monday said he will issue a stay to postpone the execution of serial killer Michael Ross until he hears more evidence about Ross’ mental capacity.

“I think it is inevitable that I will be issuing a stay postponing an execution until the outcome of this proceeding,” Judge Robert N. Chatigny said. He did not say how long the stay would postpone the execution.

Chatigny began hearing testimony Monday in a hearing to determine if Ross — an Ivy League graduate — suffers from reduced mental capacity after his 18-year incarceration on Connecticut’s death row.

The hearing was at the request of the state’s Division of Public Defenders Services, which represented Ross until last year. Ross fired them last spring and hired attorney T.R. Paulding to help expedite his execution. Ross has said he wants his execution to proceed to give closure to his victims’ families.

Ross, 45, is on death row for the murders of four young women in eastern Connecticut in the early 1980s. His arrest in 1984 ended a three-year spree of attacks that stretched from Connecticut to New York, North Carolina, Illinois, and Ohio. He raped most of his victims, and killed eight of them, six in Connecticut.

Last year, he fired his public defenders and hired a private attorney to help him expedite his execution. He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection just after 2 a.m. Wednesday.

 

20050123: Connecticut Prepares to Execute Serial Killer CT Hartford Serial Killer News
If serial killer Michael Ross gets his wish, he will become the first person executed in New England in 45 years. Connecticut's governor and most state residents agree he should be.

But a group of death penalty opponents and religious groups are trying to put the brakes on Ross' scheduled execution Wednesday with a flurry of legal maneuvers that have dominated the state's headlines and newscasts for weeks.

Protesters have scheduled daily events. Roman Catholics, who make up about a third of the state's population, have been asked to sign petitions and speak out against the death penalty.

But polls find a strong majority want the execution to go forward.

"People are still angry about it (the murders) today," said Pat Blain, a former school teacher who said she found it hard to sit through Mass when her priest read a letter from Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell condemning the death penalty. Others walked out, outraged.

"It was so close to home," she said.

Ross, a 45-year-old Cornell University graduate, is scheduled to die by lethal injection. His arrest in 1984 ended a three-year spree of attacks that stretched from Connecticut to New York, North Carolina, Illinois, and Ohio. He raped most of his victims, and killed eight of them, six in Connecticut.

Last year, he surprised observers by firing his public defenders and hiring a private attorney to help him expedite his execution. He urged Gov. M. Jodi Rell not to grant him a reprieve - and she did not.

"It has been over 20 years since my arrest, these people deserve, they have the right to finally be able to put this behind them," Ross wrote in a letter the governor, referring to the families of his victims.

His would be the 947th execution in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, but the first in New England. Of the six New England states, only Connecticut and New Hampshire have the death penalty. New Hampshire has nobody on death row and has not executed anyone since 1939; Connecticut has not since 1960.

In December, Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford declared Ross mentally competent to forgo his appeals.

Since then, the public defender's office, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, the Missionary Society of Connecticut and even Ross' father have sought to stop the execution.

"Any possible avenue to put the brakes on this rush to execute will be explored," said Jon Schoenhorn, an attorney for Ross' father, Dan Ross. "And we'll keep doing it until Wednesday at 1:30 in the morning."

The U.S. Supreme Court already rejected one appeal from the public defenders because it was not signed by Ross. And the state Supreme Court ruled this month that public defenders have no "meaningful evidence" that Ross is incapable of making his own decisions.

But in concurring opinions, two justices argued that while the defenders have no standing in the case, Ross shouldn't be executed until Connecticut completes an ongoing study on whether the death penalty is racially, ethnically or geographically discriminatory.

"I don't know how it will turn out," Ross' attorney, T.R. Paulding Jr. "At least so far, every court has ruled that Michael Ross is competent and that nobody else has standing to bring appeals."

The state's highest court also heard three other challenges last week, including one from a religious group that claims nobody in the state should be executed until the state sets up regulations to give death-row inmates clemency hearings. A hearing is scheduled Monday for an appeal by Ross' father and the public defenders to get Ross declared incompetent.

A throng of protesters, many bused in from other states in the region, are expected to stand along the snowy road outside the prison all night Tuesday. Sister Helen Prejean, the Roman Catholic nun whose anti-death penalty campaign has been chronicled in an Oscar-winning movie, will be at Ross' side.

But a Quinnipiac University poll of Connecticut residents this month found 85 percent of respondents thought that Ross should be allowed to forgo his appeals. Seventy percent said they supported the death penalty for Ross.

"We spent thousands of dollars trying to find him, thousands of dollars to prosecute him and now we're spending thousands of dollars trying to keep him alive?" said John Denis of Jewett City, where Ross lived. "They were our girls. Most locals don't care about him living."

Edwin Shelley, father of 14-year-old victim Leslie Shelley, says any sympathy for Ross is misplaced.

"If you recall what he did to eight young women, it's hard to have sympathy for a man like that," he said. "I don't care how he dies, as long as he does."

 

20050112: Church Sues To Block Execution Of Serial Killer CT Hartford Serial Killer News
The Connecticut Church of Christ is suing the state's Board of Pardons and Parole for refusing to hold a commutation hearing for convicted serial killer Michael Ross.

Ross faces a Jan. 26 execution date. It would be the first execution in Connecticut since 1960. The Church of Christ wants the board to commute Ross's sentence from death to life in prison.

The 45-year-old Ross has admitted killing eight women in Connecticut and New York, and is on death row for the murders of four young women in eastern Connecticut in the 1980s.

The Hartford Courant reports that Ross has signed statements saying he doesn't want to pursue further appeals or clemency proceedings.
 

20050109: Serial killer ready for execution CT Vernon Serial Killer News
A confessed serial killer set to become the first inmate executed in New England in 40 years urged a federal judge Friday to dismiss efforts by the inmate’s father and a civil liberties group to spare his life.

“I don’t need anyone filing on my behalf,” Michael Ross told Judge Christopher Droney via closed circuit television from Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers. “I can file my own lawsuits if I wish.”

Ross’ attorney, T.R. Paulding, said he does not expect his client to change his mind about going forward with the execution. Ross, 45, has admitted killing eight women in Connecticut and New York, and is on death row for the murders of four young women in eastern Connecticut in the 1980s. He also raped some of the women.

His scheduled Jan. 26 execution would be the first in Connecticut - and all of New England - since Joseph “Mad Dog” Taborsky was electrocuted in 1960 for a series of murders and robberies.
 

20050107: Serial Killer Spurns Dad's Bid to Block Death CT Rockville Serial Killer News
A serial killer set to become the first person put to death in New England since 1960 spurned a legal attempt by his father on Friday to avert his planned execution later this month. ..Michael Ross, 45, who has admitted killing eight women and has repeatedly said he does not want to fight his execution, asked a judge to dismiss a legal challenge aimed at blocking his scheduled death by lethal injection on Jan. 26. ..The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Ross's father, Daniel, on the grounds that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. .."Without proper safeguards ... there is a potential that Mr. Ross would be paralyzed, unable to speak, conscious, suffocating, and in tremendous pain," Annette Lamoreaux, the group's legal director, told reporters. ..But Ross said during a court hearing on Friday at Rockville Superior Court that he does not need his father or anybody else to fight on his behalf. .."I am declining to join this lawsuit. I did not give my father permission to file this lawsuit," Ross said. ..However, he added that he was not waiving his rights, a move that suggested he could still file an appeal to his death sentence. .."I'm fully aware of the drugs that are going to be used for the execution. I'm fully aware of my legal options and I'm choosing not to appeal. I'm not waiving any of my rights." ..Ross took part in the hearing via closed-circuit television from the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut. U.S. District Judge Christopher Droney said he would issue a ruling within days. ..Although he has declared himself opposed to the death penalty, Ross has said for at least 10 years that he wants his execution to serve as closure for his victims' families. .."I am willing to hand you the death penalty 'on a silver platter' on the condition that you will work with me to get this over with as quickly and as painlessly as possible," Ross wrote in a 1994 letter to prosecutors. "There is no need to drag the families of my victims through more lengthy and disturbing court proceeding." ..
 

20041228: Judge: Serial Killer Can Decide to Die CT New London Serial Killer News
A judge ruled Tuesday that a confessed serial killer - set to become the first inmate executed in New England in 40 years - is mentally competent and can forgo further appeals of his death sentence...Michael Ross, 45, is scheduled to be executed Jan. 26 for killing four young women in eastern Connecticut in the 1980s. He has admitted to killing a total of eight women and raping several of them...Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford ordered Ross to testify in court and be examined by a psychiatrist to ensure he was competent to decide to allow the execution to go forward...Clifford said he found Ross to be lucid and rational. "This decision is his right to make," the judge said...Ross testified that he was confident if he appealed, he could persuade the courts to overturn his death sentence. But he said he didn't want to do that, partly because of the pain it would cause his victims' families...Dr. Michael Norko, who examined Ross at the judge's request, testified that Ross understands his legal options and has made a rational decision. Norko said Ross believes pursuing appeals "would be the morally wrong thing to do."..Edwin Shelley, whose 14-year-old daughter Leslie was killed by Ross, said he has no sympathy for Ross, but is pleased he has been thinking of his family..."It's thoughtful of him, and I hope that he gets his wish, because his wish is my wish - that he die," Shelley said...Ross fired his public defenders earlier this year, but his former lawyers have filed motions in several other courts, including the Supreme Court, seeking a stay of the execution...Patrick Culligan, of the state Division of Public Defender Services, said Clifford's competency ruling was improper because both the state and Ross were arguing the same side...The judge barred the public defenders from taking part in Tuesday's hearing.. .
 

20041216: EU wants to stop planned execution of serial killer NY Serial Killer News
The European Union is asking Connecticut officials to stop the planned execution of serial killer Michael Ross. ..Ross is scheduled to be executed January 26th. He would be the first in New England since 1960. ..The Netherlands currently holds the rotating European Union presidency and issued a statement on behalf of all 25 EU member countries. ..The EU, which opposes capital punishment is asking Governor Rell to grant a reprieve to allow for deliberation on the issue. ..It calls on the chairman of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency. ..Ross admitted killing eight women in eastern Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s, and raping most of his victims. He has been in prison for 20 years -- 17 on Connecticut's death row -- for four murders. ..A hearing in the case is scheduled for December 28th to determine whether Ross is mentally competent. . . . . . .
 

20041214: Serial killer sentenced to death CT Hartford Serial Killer News
More than 940 people have been executed since the United States reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Not one was in New England...That is set to change Jan. 26, the date for the execution of serial killer Michael Ross...Ross, 45, admits killing eight women in Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s, and raping most of his victims. He has been in prison for 20 years for four of those murders and faces lethal injection...After numerous appeals Ross has chosen not to fight anymore. He said he wants to avoid inflicting more pain on his victims' families...Public defenders are trying to intervene against Ross' wishes and file more appeals. A judge has ordered a psychiatric evaluation to make sure Ross is mentally competent to choose death. And at least one bill to repeal capital punishment is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly when it convenes Jan. 5...Connecticut's Republican governor, M. Jodi Rell, said she will veto any bill to repeal the death penalty. She declined to use her authority to issue a reprieve that would have delayed the execution until after the coming legislative session...
 

20041208: Governor confirms her decision for execution of serial killer CT Hartford Serial Killer News
It couldn't have been easy for Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell to order the execution of mass murderer-rapist Michael Bruce Ross, who is scheduled to die next month by lethal injection — the first application of capital punishment in the Northeast in 40 years. ..Even though Ross' guilt is undisputed, granting a temporary reprieve would have made Rell a media hero — and tossed the case right back to the courts, where someone else could shoulder the responsibility. ..But Rell instead said she would not block the execution — and added pointedly that if death-penalty foes in the state legislature rush through a measure repealing the statute before Ross is put to death, she will veto it. ..Good for her. ..Gov. Rell, who took office last summer when John Rowland resigned in disgrace, declared that she "took the oath of office . . . to uphold the laws of Connecticut, and the laws of Connecticut provide for the imposition of the death penalty." ..That's a reality that many officeholders in other states sometimes seem to forget. ..And, she added, "there are crimes and actions which are so repugnant to society as to warrant the death penalty." ..Certainly, Michael Bruce Ross' crimes so qualify. ..He confessed 20 years ago to strangling eight young girls — some of whom he also raped. He's refusing to appeal his sentence, and no extraneous legal issues have emerged to cast his conviction in doubt. ..No, the only argument against executing Ross is on the grounds that capital punishment is wrong. ..And that's an argument with which the people of Connecticut — according to all polls — and their legislature, by virtue of its votes to restore the death penalty, do not accept. ..In her statement affirming Ross' execution, the governor rightly placed the emphasis where it belongs — on the criminal's victims. .."As I weighed my decision," she said, "I thought of the young, vibrant girls who died brutal deaths at the hands of Michael Ross." .."This was not a decision I made lightly — nor should it have been," she added. "But it is one I firmly believe to be right." ..Lawmakers in Albany, who have yet to substantively address how to fix New York's flawed death-penalty statute, which was thrown out by the Court of Appeals, should take Gov. Rell's words to heart. ..
 

20041202: Public defenders seek to halt serial killer's execution CT Hartford Serial Killer News
An effort began yesterday to halt the planned execution next month of convicted serial killer Michael Ross...The state Division of Public Defender Services filed a motion in state Superior Court to halt the execution set for January 26 execution. The public defenders say the planned lethal injection is tantamount to a state-assisted suicide because Ross has abandoned further appeals. ..The department has submitted a motion requesting official standing in Ross's case in New London Superior Court. ..He could be the first inmate killed by Connecticut since 1960. ..The court did not immediately set a hearing date, but if it approves the motion it would allow the public defenders to directly request a stay of execution for Ross. ..The 45-year-old Ross is on death row for killing four young women in eastern Connecticut in the 1980s. He has admitted killing eight women in Connecticut and New York. .. . . . . .
 

20040601: Supreme Court upholds death penalty for serial killer CT Hartford Serial Killer News
The state Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death sentence given to serial killer Michael ROSS for the murders of four teenage girls in Connecticut two decades ago...In a lengthy decision, the state's highest court rejected numerous arguments, including that ROSS suffered from a mental illness that should have spared him the death penalty...A Cornell University graduate, ROSS admitted killing eight women - six of them in Connecticut and two in New York - in the early 1980s. He is serving life sentences for killing two women in Windham County and was first sentenced to die in 1987 for four of the murders. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling in 1994 after finding that a judge had excluded part of a psychiatric report...ROSS, 46, has said he suffers from sexual sadism, a disease he said drove him to rape and kill..A new jury rejected that defense in 2000 and again sentenced him to die...Chief State's Attorney Christopher MORANO said he was encouraged by the ruling, but expects further appeals and does not know how long it will be before someone on death row actually faces execution...The state has not executed anyone since 1960.
 

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 1995-2006 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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