Prosecutors are negotiating with attorneys for Charles Cullen, a former nurse who claimed to have killed as many as 40 patients, but the two sides have not worked out a plea agreement, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Newark Star-Ledger reported that the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and prosecutors from the seven New Jersey and Pennsylvania counties where Cullen worked had reached an agreement that would spare Cullen the death penalty. Cullen would help investigators identify his victims, the Star-Ledger reported.
John Hagerty, a spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, said reports of a deal were premature. “It’s harmful to the investigation, it’s misleading, and it’s disconcerting to potential victims’ families,” he said. “A verbal agreement is like saying it’s going to rain tomorrow. It might rain, and it might not.”
Cullen, 43, of Bethlehem, Pa., was charged last year in the poisoning death of the Rev. Florian J. Gall and the attempted murder of Jin Kyung Han, who were both patients at Somerset, N.J., Medical Center. Prosecutors have accused Cullen of giving the patients an overdose of digoxin, a heart-disease medication. Cullen later told investigators that he had killed between 30 and 40 patients to alleviate their pain and suffering during his 16-year career.