This Day in History: NJ’s Most Prolific Serial Killer Sentenced to 11 Life Terms
The man considered to be New Jersey’s most prolific serial killer, Charles Cullen, was sentenced on March 2, 2006, to eleven life terms totaling 397 years for 22 murders.
Cullen was a critical care nurse who murdered (and attempted to murder) his patients across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Cullen told CNN that the death toll could be as many as 40, and some law enforcement officials believe he actually have killed many more during his 16 year nursing career.
Cullen killed them through intravenous injections of various drugs, including insulin and digoxin. Thirteen of his victims were patients at Somerset Medical Center; he pleaded guilty in a Somerville courtroom to the murders and that’s where he was sentenced; the sentence included five life sentences for Cullen's five victims at Hunterdon Medical Center, two life sentences for the 13 patients Cullen murdered at Somerset Medical Center, one life sentence for a patient he murdered in Essex County, and three life sentences for his victims at Warren Hospital. He also pleaded guilty to an additional seven murders in Pennsylvania.
According to Murderpedia.com, Cullen said his motive was to prevent the patients from suffering, although authorities say in many cases, he actually caused more suffering. He also told investigators that he often went through life in a “fog” and didn’t remember all the murders until he was presented with medical records proving he had committed them.
Last year, it was announced that Netflix would be producing a movie based on Cullen; according to IMDB.com, the project is in “pre-production.” Cullen is serving his life sentences in the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.