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20060413: Serial killer spared death penalty dies at 52 NY Long Island Serial Killer News

Robert Shulman, the former Hicksville postal worker whose spree of murdering, dismembering and discarding young women horrified Long Island a decade ago and made him the Island's first death row inmate in decades, died in an Albany hospital yesterday, state correction officials said.

Shulman, 52, had been recently resentenced to life without parole after New York's death penalty was overturned. Shulman's closest living relatives - brothers Barry and Sheldon, of Long Beach, did not return calls for comment.

"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord," said Ruth Brown, of York, Pa., yesterday in her first words after hearing the man who killed her daughter, Lisa Ann Warner, had died. "Even though man took away the death penalty, he deserved it, and he got it. ... I feel it's the Almighty's justice system."

State Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman Linda Foglia said Shulman, who was serving his sentence at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate Dannemora, was transferred to a local hospital on Tuesday, requiring undisclosed medical treatment.

"There was no assault, nothing suspicious. He was having medical problems," Foglia said.

He was later transferred to Albany Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 3:15 a.m.. Foglia said Shulman's cause of death, pending an autopsy, is tentatively classified as natural causes.

"He was one of the few, true serial killers that I've ever come across," said former Suffolk County District Attorney James Catterson, who sought the death penalty in the case. "He received the ultimate penalty anyway. He was shut away from society, from anyone, and died alone, and, I'm sure, unmourned."

Ten years ago this month, Shulman was arrested inside a cramped and filthy Hicksville apartment that prosecutors called the killer's "slaughterhouse." Inside, police say, Shulman bludgeoned to death three women - believed by authorities to have been prostitutes - shattering their skulls with a blunt object. Shulman then dismembered his victims - before discarding their body parts in various locations.

In 1999 Shulman was convicted of murdering Warner, 18, of Jamaica, Queens, whose body was found in April 1995 at a Brooklyn recycling plant; Kelly Sue Bunting, 28, of Hollis; and an unidentified woman whose body was found in December 1994 by the side of Long Island Avenue in Medford.

Two other victims, Lori Vasquez, 24, of Brooklyn, and another unidentified woman were found dumped in Yonkers. Shulman was separately tried and convicted for their murders.

Shulman was sentenced to death, but his sentence was nullified by a 2004 Court of Appeals ruling that found part of the state's capital punishment law to be unconstitutional.

Shulman's Hauppauge defense attorney Paul Gianelli said his client's life was one ravaged by mental disease and a tragic childhood.

Shulman maintained his innocence when he was resentenced in November.

John Collins, chief of homicide for the district attorney, faced off with Shulman in court that day. "The legacy left by Robert Shulman is one of abject violence and senseless destruction of precious human life," Collins said. "The sooner he is forgotten by the people of Suffolk County, the better."


20051117: Serial killer gets new sentence after court kills death penalty NY New York Serial Killer News

A serial killer sentenced to death after murdering and dismembering five women returned to a Long Island courtroom Thursday, where a judge revised his sentence to life without parole.

The change was the result of a decision last year by the state Court of Appeals that effectively placed a moratorium on executions in New York.

Robert Shulman, 51, was convicted in March 1999 by a Suffolk County jury of first-degree murder in the deaths of three women; the following year he was convicted in Westchester for murdering two victims whose bodies were found in Yonkers. Some of those killed were believed to be prostitutes.

Shulman, a postal worker from Hicksville, was convicted of killing Kelly Sue Bunting, 28, of Hollis, Queens, whose body was found in December 1995 in a trash bin in Melville; Lisa Ann Warner, 18, of Jamaica, Queens, whose body was found in April 1995 at a Brooklyn trash recycling plant; and an unidentified woman whose mutilated body was found in December 1994 on a roadside in Medford.

Before Suffolk County Court Judge Arthur Pitts imposed a new sentence of life without parole, Bunting's father made an impassioned victim's impact statement.

"This entire court proceeding and all of the appeals and hearings and rights, they are all about you," John Bunting said to Shulman in prepared remarks supplied by the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

"Kelly is lucky to get an honorable mention. Where are her rights? Are they buried with her? You took them from her along with her life and her ability to live life.

"All people in society are living in constant fear of criminals like you."

In Westchester, Shulman was convicted of killing Lori Vasquez, a 24-year-old Brooklyn woman, and killing and dismembering another woman who was never identified.

Those cases ended up in Westchester because Shulman and his brother Barry dumped Vasquez and the other victim in Yonkers. They were found in 1991 and 1992, crammed into plastic trash cans. There was no death penalty law at the time.

Barry Shulman was sentenced to two years in jail for aiding his brother.

In a 4-3 ruling in June 2004, the state's highest court declared a sentencing provision of New York's capital punishment statute _ enacted in 1995 _ violates the state constitution. The court ruled that jury-instruction provisions in the statute could coerce some jurors into voting for death against a defendant.

"The deadlock instruction gives rise to an unconstitutionally palpable risk that one or more jurors who cannot bear the thought that a defendant may walk the streets again ... will join jurors favoring death in order to avoid the deadlock sentence," Judge George Bundy Smith wrote for the majority of the court.

Since the Court of Appeals ruling, the state Legislature has been unable to agree on a bill to correct the problem.

No one was ever executed under the 1995 death penalty law.


Copyright 1995-2006 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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