'The Good Nurse': who is Charles Cullen and where is he now?

The American serial killer is the subject of Netflix's latest true crime film

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Netflix has been pulling out all the stops for true crime fans in recent weeks, with the likes of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and The Watcher. And its latest offering, The Good Nurse, is gaining just as much traction.

The film, released on Wednesday, stars Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain. It tells the story of nurse Charles Cullen, who murdered dozens of patients over the course of 16 years.

The film explores Cullen’s story and crimes from the perspective of his friend and co-worker, Amy Loughren, who eventually assisted authorities in helping to catch and convict the killer.

But who is Charles Cullen and where is he now? Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Charles Cullen?

Cullen was born in West Orange, New Jersey, in 1960, and was orphaned at a young age. In 1984, he enrolled in the US Navy, but was discharged after attempting to take his own life.

Shortly afterwards, he began training to become a nurse. Between 1988 and 2003, he worked in several hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

What were his crimes?

Cullen was arrested in December 2003 and charged with murdering 29 people. Cullen admitted his crimes, confessing he killed patients in his care by injecting lethal cocktails of heart and insulin medication into IV fluid bags, switching off ventilators and administering medicine without a prescription.

In 2013, Cullen spoke about his crimes in his first televised interview, appearing on 60 Minutes. He described some as “mercy killings”, however, several of his patients were not terminally ill. He also spoke of his previous suicide attempts, saying: “I tried to kill myself throughout my life because I never really liked being who I was. I didn't feel I was worthy of anything."

Where is Cullen now?

Cullen initially faced the death penalty but had his sentence reduced following a plea deal. He was handed 11 consecutive life sentences, which he is currently serving at high security New Jersey State Prison.

According to court papers, his earliest chance for parole would be June 10, 2388.

The Good Nurse is available to stream on Netflix now

Updated: October 27, 2022, 11:38 AM
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