With the detachment of a man grown accustomed to killing, nurse Charles Cullen, 44, pleaded guilty yesterday in Somerville, N.J., to murdering 13 medical patients and attempting to murder two others with drug overdoses, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. As the names were read, muffled sobs could be heard from some of 70 relatives of victims. Cullen used six different drugs to “alleviate the pain and suffering” of patients he killed the phrase he used after his arrest on Dec. 12, 2003.
The guilty pleas were part of an agreement to spare Cullen the death penalty. The agreement requires Cullen to cooperate with prosecutors investigating his actions. “Our work has just begun,” Attorney General Peter Harvey said. Authorities said he claimed to have killed as many as 40 patients. Yesterday, prosecutors quoted Cullen as saying he killed patients as far back as 1984, when he was a nursing student.