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Content warning: This article contains discussion of murder some may find upsetting. Reader discretion is advised.
Netflix's brand-new true crime movie, The Good Nurse, is based on the chilling real-life murders conducted by former ICU nurse Charles Cullen between 1988 and 2003. After being investigated by detectives Tim Braun and Danny Baldwin with the help of his co-worker and friend Amy Loughren, Cullen admitted to killing 22 people in New Jersey and seven in Pennsylvania. However, according to NJ.com, investigators believe Cullen could have killed up to 400 victims, which would make him "the most prolific serial killer in history."
Nearly 20 years after his arrest in 2003, Cullen's merciless murders are still being talked about. Here's everything we know about the real Charles Cullen and the victims that were affected by his twisted actions.
How many people did Charles Cullen murder?
NJ.com reports that Cullen, who is also known as the "Angel of Death," pleaded guilty to killing 29 people over a span of 16 years (22 in New Jersey and seven in Pennsylvania). However, several investigators believe he could be responsible for 400 deaths — nearly ten times the amount he admitted to.
Per The New York Post, Cullen is under protective custody at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, where he is serving 11 consecutive life sentences. The Department of Corrections also reports that Cullen's earliest parole date in the state of New Jersey is June 10, 2388.
How did Charles Cullen kill his victims?
While working across several hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Cullen led patients to their demise by injecting heart and insulin medicines into IV fluid bags, turning off ventilators, and giving them medicine without a doctor's approval. Most of Cullen's victims were believed to be over the age of 60 and were admitted to the hospitals he worked at to treat their terminal illnesses, but a 2006 report by The Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that he also had victims as young as 21 who were not terminally ill.
When it came to his motives, Cullen said that he killed his victims out of mercy as he wanted to "alleviate the pain and suffering" of his mostly elderly and infirm victims.
When did Charles Cullen kill his victims?
After graduating from Mountainside Hospital Nursing School in 1986, Cullen began his nursing career in the burn unit of Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. He committed his first murder at the hospital in June 1988, according to a report by the Associated Press. From 1988 to 2003, he worked at nine hospitals and nursing homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — six of which he was fired or forced out of, per The New York Daily News.
While Cullen was believed to have murdered up to 400 victims, there is scarce information about most of them. Below, find what we know about some of Charles Cullen's victims and when he committed his chilling crimes.
June 11, 1988: John W. Yengo, Sr., 72
March 9, 1991: Lucy Vigilone Mugavero, 90
July 23, 1991: Mary Natoli, 85
September 1, 1991: Helen Dean, 91
January 21, 1996: LeRoy Sinn, 71
May 31, 1996: Earl Young, 76
June 9, 1996: Catherine A. Dext, 49
June 24, 1996: Frank Mazzacco, 66
July 10, 1996: Jesse Eichlin, 81
December 31, 1998: Ottomar A. Schramm, 78
August 31, 1999: Matthew Mattern, 22
February 2000: Stella Danielczyk, 73 (attempted murder)
February 8, 2001: John Gallagher, 90 (attempted murder)
June 22, 2001: Irene Krampf, 79
November 8, 2001: William Park, 72
December 28, 2001: Paul Galgon, 72 (attempted murder)
January 9, 2002: Samuel Spangler, 80
May 5, 2002: Daniel George, 82
June 2, 2002: Edward O'Toole, 76
February 12, 2003: Eleanor Stoecker, 60
February 23, 2003: Joyce E. Mangini, 74
February 23, 2003: Giacomino J. Toto, 89
March 11, 2003: John J. Shanagher, 83
April 6, 2003: Dorthea K. Hoagland, 80
May 5, 2003: Melvin T. Simcoe, 66
May 15, 2003: Michael T. Strenko, 21
June 18, 2003: Philip Gregor, 48 (attempted murder)
June 28, 2003: Reverend Florian J. Gall, 68
June 29, 2003: Jin Kyung Han, 40 (attempted murder)
July 13, 2003: Pasquale M. Napolitano, 80
August 11, 2003: Christopher B. Hardgrove, 38
August 27, 2003: Frances Agoada, 83 (attempted murder)
September 20, 2003: Krishnakant Upadhyay, 70
September 23, 2003: James R. Strickland, 83
October 21, 2003: Edward P. Zizik, 73
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