Former nurse Charles Cullen, who confessed to killing dozens of patients at hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, pleaded guilty today to 13 murders and two attempted murders at Somerset Medical Center, Somerville, N.J. In exchange for the plea and Cullen's promise to cooperate in the continuing investigation in counties throughout the two states, prosecutors said they have agreed not to seek the death penalty. The Somerset County prosecutor's office said, however, that it would seek two consecutive life terms with a minimum of a 127-year period of parole ineligibility. Cullen, who was hired at hospital after hospital despite a spotty and troubled work history, eventually became a suspect after two suspicious patient deaths at Somerset were reported to investigators last October. He subsequently confessed that he was responsible for the deaths of as many as 40 patients at various hospitals during his 16-year career as a nurse. The Somerset County prosecutor's office said it received about 175 telephone calls from the families of patients who died at Somerset after the killings came to light. Prosecutors said they determined that Cullen's murder weapons were usually drugs that he took from the critical-care unit's PYXIS system. -- by Cinda Becker
Nurse pleads guilty to 13 murders, two attempted
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