New Jersey News

Nurse Sentenced To Life In Prison

A former nurse has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the calculated deaths of 22 New Jersey hospital patients.  Charles Cullen, 46, pleaded guilty to a series of killings that may account for the deaths of as many as 40 intensive care patients, throughout the New Jersey, Pennsylvania region, between the years of 1988 and 2003. 

Twenty-nine deaths and six attempted murders have been confirmed to be the result of Cullen’s malicious acts.  The nurse reportedly injected the victims with a lethal injection and enjoyed the process of reporting the death to devastated family members. 

This idea is perhaps the most unsettling for Annell Simco whose husband lost his life because of the callous criminal.  “This haunting memory has been made even worse by the knowledge that Christopher Cullen lurked in the hallways of the I.C.U. and enjoyed watching the suffering of loved ones,” the distraught widow remarked. 

Many of the murders took place at New Jersey’s Somerset Medical Center, where no background check was conducted prior to the hiring of Charles Cullen.  Had they investigated the employee’s background, they would have learned of the defendant’s history of mental instability and suicide attempts.  Charles Cullen also worked at a number of other hospitals throughout the 15-year period, prior to any suspicion arising. 

“For someone to be able to hop from hospital to hospital with these problems for over 15 years defies trust,” stated an anger parent of one of Cullen’s victims.  “We are outraged that no one stopped Charles Cullen from murdering my son.”

The victim reportedly sat quietly and sullenly as he endured the wrath of tearful, angry friends and family members of his victims.  His eyes appeared to be closed for much of the hearing, which deeply angered and frustrated family members telling the tragic stories of their loved ones. 

The son of a surviving victim of Cullen pleaded for information from the defendant. “You still have something good to do with your life. Tell us how you did this –who you fooled, who looked the other way, our medical system has a disease, you’re part of this disease,” the angered son commented in a plea to uncover how such an appalling error could occur in a hospital.

The families of the victims are not overlooking the grave error of the medical centers.  There have been a number or lawsuits filed against the Somerset Medical Center in particular, for their negligence in hiring Cullen without sufficient background information.  Family members are also pushing for legislation requiring background checks for hospital employees, which could have potentially prevented the deaths of 29 individuals. 

Charles Cullen has been sentenced to eleven consecutive life sentences in prison, with ineligibility for parole for 397 years.  The defendant’s guilty plea and cooperation with officials to provide information about the murders afforded him his life. 

The majority of the victim’s family members appeared to be pleased with the life sentence as opposed to the death penalty.  “Since he has already attempted suicide, the death penalty would not be a suitable punishment,” commented Melissa Strenko, sister of 21-year-old victim Michael Strenko.  Instead, Strenko said she believes Cullen should suffer through life in prison, without the possibility for parole or privileges. 

Cullen still faces sentencing for the death of seven Pennsylvania victims. 


Find Medical Malpractice News from Your State:

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | D.C. | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin
Wyoming | Puerto Rico

Enter your City, State, and Zip code to find Medical Malpractice Attorneys near you.