Infamous N.J. killers: Then and now

Infamous N.J. killers: Then and now

28 Haziran 2018 - 02:00

From mob hits to serial killings, New Jersey certainly has its fair share of grisly murders. 

We followed those killers as they were arrested, tried and sentenced, and even as they continued to appeal their convictions. But after 10, 20, or 30 years in prison, faces have faded from some memories.

So where are New Jersey's infamous felons now? Some got reduced sentences in plea deals or just did their time, and they left prison and restarted their lives on the outside.

But many are still behind bars, and will only get out as old men or women. Some will spend the rest of their days within prison walls. Their appeals didn't get them anywhere.

We've checked in on some of the state's most notorious killers who are still behind bars, to reflect on their crimes and see whether there's any chance they'll be back on the street anytime soon.


Charles Cullen, shown left in court and at right in a Department of Corrections photo, pleaded guilty to killing 29 hospital patients while working as a nurse in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (Star-Ledger and State of New Jersey photos)

Serial killer's earliest parole date? 370 years from now

 Name: Charles Cullen

Crime: Cullen, a nurse who worked at a number of hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in 2005 to killing a total of 29 patients between the two states, beginning in 1988. Investigators said Cullen killed the patients with overdoses of various drugs injected into their IV bags.

Sentence: Cullen is serving 11 consecutive life sentences for the 22 murders in New Jersey. He faces another six life sentences for his crimes in Pennsylvania. His earliest possible parole date from state custody in New Jersey would be June 10, 2388, according to the Department of Corrections.

What’s happened with their appeals? Cullen has not appealed his convictions in New Jersey, court records indicate.

Where are they now? Cullen is incarcerated at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, according to correctional records.


Jesse Timmendequas, shown at court during his 1997 trial in the killing of Megan Kanka, is serving a sentence of life without parole after the New Jersey Legislature abolished the death penalty in 2007. (Photos from New Jersey News Photos and the state Department of Corrections)

Killer whose crime sparked Megan's Law will stay in prison for life

Name: Jesse Timmendequas

Crime: Timmendequas, twice previously convicted of sexually assaulting children, was 33 when he raped and strangled his 7-year-old neighbor Megan Kanka in Hamilton in 1994. Kanka’s death inspired Megan’s Law statutes at the federal level and in states throughout the country, requiring sex offenders to register with local authorities.

Sentence? A jury in 2007 sentenced Timmendequas to death for Kanka’s murder, but his sentence was commuted to life without parole when the Legislature abolished the death penalty in 2007.

What’s happened with their appeals? Timmendequas, whom authorities said confessed to killing Kanka, has tried to appeal his sentence twice in the past decade. A state appellate court in 2011 rejected his first direct appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. In 2015, a judge in Mercer County rejected Timmendequas’ arguments that his defense attorney had provided insufficient counsel at trial.

Where are they now: Records show Timmendequas, now 57, is serving his sentence at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.


Richard Cottingham, shown at left in court after a murder conviction in 1982, is serving the equivalent of hundreds of years in prison for killing three women in New Jersey between 1967 and 1980. (Photos from The Record via Northeast News Consortium and the state Department of Corrections)

Bergen County serial killer serving time in Trenton for 3 slayings

Name: Richard Cottingham

Crime: Cottingham, a Lodi resident, killed six women in New Jersey and New York between 1967 and 1980. His crimes were discovered in May 1980, when a maid at a Hasbrouck Heights motel heard Cottingham’s next intended victim — an 18-year-old woman — screaming from inside his room. He ultimately was convicted of two murders and three kidnappings in New Jersey, in addition to the murder of three women in New York. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to a third killing in New Jersey in 1967.

Sentence: Cottingham is serving more than 200 years for two killings in New Jersey, and a life sentence for the third homicide to which he pleaded guilty in 2010.

What’s happened with their appeals? Court records do not indicate Cottingham has appealed his convictions in New Jersey.

Where are they now? Cottingham, now 71, is incarcerated at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, according to correctional records.


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