Former nurse Cullen admits to a killing in Warren County

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    Former nurse Cullen admits to a killing in Warren County

    May 10, 2004, 12:26 PM EDT


    BELVIDERE, N.J. -- A former nurse who pleaded guilty last month to the murders of 13 hospital patients has confessed to another, authorities said Monday.

    Charles Cullen has admitted to killing Helen Dean on Sept. 1, 1993, the Warren County prosecutor said. He has agreed to plead guilty in a hearing scheduled for May 19.

    Dean, 91, died shortly after undergoing surgery for breast cancer at Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg. Before she died, she claimed that Cullen had stuck her with a needle.

    Hers is the first additional case to which Cullen, 44, has publicly been linked since he began meeting last week with authorities from Pennsylvania and New Jersey after his initial plea.

    In exchange for his help in solving cases of suspicious patient deaths, prosecutors in seven counties _ five in New Jersey and two in Pennsylvania _ agreed not to seek the death penalty.

    Cullen said last year that he was responsible for as many as 40 deaths during a 16-year nursing career that ended when he was arrested in December.

    He is expected to receive three consecutive life prison sentences for his crimes in New Jersey. As part of the plea arrangement, he promised to plead guilty to one other specific murder in Pennsylvania, as well as any others authorities can link to him in northern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

    Last week, he met with Pennsylvania authorities investigating deaths in Lehigh County, Pa. He met with Somerset authorities on Thursday.

    When he pleaded guilty last month, Cullen admitted using lethal doses of different drugs on patients at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville.

    Warren County Prosecutor Thomas S. Ferguson, who announced Cullen's confession in Dean's death, said the investigation will continue into other deaths at the Warren Hospital during the time Cullen worked there, from February 1992 to December 1993.

    "We had received a number of inquires from the public," Ferguson said, "Over 20 inquiries. We're certainly looking into all of them and other cases above those."


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