ex-nurse to plead guilty in patient deaths
[font=verdana,sans-serif][font=verdana,sans-serif]email this storyapr 24, 7:00 pm (et)
somerville, n.j. (ap) - a former nurse who claims to have killed as many as 40 patients in new jersey and pennsylvania is expected to plead guilty, according to two published reports.
charles cullen will plead guilty thursday to murdering a dozen patients in a deal that spares him the death penalty, gannett new jersey and the star-ledger of newark reported saturday.
the newspapers, citing unnamed sources close to the investigation, said cullen would then be sent to pennsylvania to plead guilty to an unspecified number of charges.
cullen, 44, would be sentenced in each state to life in prison terms with no chance of parole, and would serve his time in new jersey, the newspapers reported. he remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.
according to prosecutors, cullen has admitted killing 30 to 40 severely ill patients at several medical facilities in the two states since 1987 by injecting them with drugs.
the sources told the star-ledger that the state public defender's office, which represents cullen, has not signed off on the deal. a number of details were expected to be worked out this weekend, but completing the deal could push the plea to the following week, the newspaper reported.
a spokesman for the new jersey attorney general's office, john hagerty, would not comment on the reports saturday.
the family of one alleged victim welcomed the reported agreement.
"i think it's time. for my family, as well as other families, (the investigation) just keeps opening up the same wound," lucille gall of woodbridge, sister of the rev. florian j. gall, told the star-ledger.
florian gall, 68, of readington, was given a large dose of the heart drug digoxin, which has been suspected in other cases under investigation in the cullen case, authorities said.
attorney anthony macri, who represents families of people who died at hospitals where cullen had worked, said his clients were not pleased cullen would avoid a death sentence. but it was important, macri said, for those families to have an accounting. "my clients think that it is important that he does come forward with a list and that he does confess to all the killings that he's done," macri told gannett new jersey.