A serial killer on 60 Minutes last night admits that had he not been caught during his terrifying spree of hospital murders, he’s not sure he would have ever ceased killing patients in a near-undetectable fashion.
Killer nurse Charles Cullen is the first serial killer to appear on 60 Minutes in the four and a half decades the show has been on the air, and Cullen was frank in discussing his crimes during the phone chat from jail.
Cullen’s total number of victims is not known, but CBS spoke with an expert who believes that the serial killer‘s 60 Minutes admission is a low estimate of the scope of the nurse’s deadly actions.
The station explains:
“Cullen told authorities he thinks he killed between 30 and 40 patients, but Charles Graeber, who investigated the case for his book about Cullen, The Good Nurse, believes that’s the tip of the iceberg. Pointing out that Cullen told investigators he had ‘dosed’ three or four people a week at his first job in 1987 and didn’t know all of their outcomes, he speculates that over 16 years the number could be much higher.”
Graeber said to CBS:
“I would be very surprised, as would pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to with any knowledge of this case, if it was not in the hundreds, multiple hundreds.”
From New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, where Cullen is serving 17 consecutive (not concurrent) life sentences, the serial killer spoke to CBS about his crimes and why he decided to fatally dose patients, most frequently with a heart medication.
Cullen said he was sorry for doing what he did, but admitted he “[didn’t] know” if the killing would have stopped had he not been caught.
The killer nurse claims: “I thought that people weren’t suffering anymore. So, in a sense, I thought I was helping.”
However, many of Cullen’s victims were neither terminally ill, close to death, or even in pain. The serial killer, who admits to having attempted suicide many times himself, explained to 60 Minutes:
” … there is no justification … the only thing I can say is that I felt overwhelmed at the time … It felt like I needed to do something and I did. And that’s not an answer to anything.”
The serial killer’s 60 Minutes interview aired last night on CBS.