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Profile of Serial Killer Richard Angelo

Angel of Death

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Richard Angelo Angel of Death

Richard Angelo, The Angel of Death

Police File
Richard Angelo was 26 years old when he went to work at Good Samaritan Hospital on Long Island in New York. He had a background of doing good things for people as a former Eagle Scout and volunteer fireman. He also had an out-of-control desire to be recognized as a hero.

Playing Hero

Unable to achieve the level of praise he desired in life, Angelo came up with a plan where he would inject drugs into patients at the hospital, bringing them to a near-death state. He would then show his heroic capabilities by helping to save his victims, impressing both co-workers and the patients with his expertise. For many, Angelo's plan fell deathly short, and several patients died before he was able to intervene and save them from his deadly injections.

Working the graveyard shift put Angelo into the perfect position to continue to work on his feeling of inadequacy, so much so that during his realitvely short time at the Good Samaritan, there were 37 "Code-Blue" emergencies during his shift. Only 12 of the 37 patients lived to talk about their near death experience.

Something to Feel Better

Angelo, apparently not swayed by his inability to keep his victims alive, continued injecting patients with a combination of the paralyzing drugs, Pavulon and Anectine, sometimes telling the patient that he was giving them something which would make them feel better.

Soon after administering the deadly cocktail, the patients would begin to feel numb and their breathing would become constricted as did their ability to communicate to nurses and doctors. Few could survive the deadly attack.

Under Suspicion

Then on October 11, 1987 Angelo came under suspicion after one of his victims, Gerolamo Kucich, managed to use the call button for assistance after receiving an injection from Angelo. One of the nurses responding to his call for help took a urine sample and had it analyzed. The test proved positive for containing the drugs, Pavulon and Anectine, neither of which had been prescribed to Kucich.

The following day Angelo's locker and home were searched and police found vials of both drugs and Angelo was arrested. The bodies of several of the suspected victims were exhumed and tested for the deadly drugs. The test proved positive for the drugs on ten of the dead patients.

Taped Confession

Angelo eventually confessed to authorities, telling them during a taped interview, "I wanted to create a situation where I would cause the patient to have some respiratory distress or some problem, and through my intervention or suggested intervention or whatever, come out looking like I knew what I was doing. I had no confidence in myself. I felt very inadequate."

He was charged with multiple counts of second-degree murder.

Multiple Personalities?

His lawyers fought to prove that Angelo suffered from dissociative identity disorder, which meant he was able to disassociate himself completely from the crimes he committed and was unable to realize the risk of what he had done to the patients. In other words, he had multiple personalities which he could move in and out of, unaware of the actions of the other personality.

The lawyers fought to prove this theory by introducing polygraph exams which Angelo had passed during questioning about the murdered patients. The judge however, would not allow the polygraph evidence into the court.

Sentenced to 61 Years

Angelo was ultimately convicted of two counts of depraved indifference murder (second-degree murder), one count of second degree manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide and six counts of assault with respect to five of the patients and was sentenced to 61 years to life.
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