Kristen Gilbert “The Angel of Death”By: Emily Matia
Her Childhood Born on November 13th, 1967 in Massachusetts as Kristen Heather Strickland. Her parents were married, but distant and unaffectionate. In high school, Gilbert physically and verbally abused her boyfriends, and she was a notorious liar. She claimed she was related to murderer Lizzie Borden.
Adult LifeKristen Gilbert graduated from high school a yearand a half early with very high grades. She wentto Bridgewater State College, then transferred to Greenfield Community College to be closer to her boyfriend Glenn Gilbert. She graduated with adiploma in nursing. She eloped and married Glenn Gilbert in 1988. They had two children.
Adult Life Kristen Gilbert began displaying very odd, even cruel behavior. In 1987, she began working as a home health aide where she scolded a mentally disabled child over 60% of his body with hot bath water. She was not prosecuted for this. She also allegedly chased her husband around the house with a butcher knife after an argument, but she did not harm him. She was employed as anurse at Leeds Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Massachusetts, where she was given the nickname “Angel of Death” because so many people died while in her care. During an affair thatKristen was having, her husband Glenn believed that Kristen was trying to kill him because of the funny tasting food she served him. A search of the house supported his suspicion: they found a book titled The Handbook of Poisoning in Kristen’s cupboard. During the murder investigation, Gilbert phoned in a bombthreat to the hospital to try and put the investigation on hold. She was arrested and served 15 months for this crime.
The KillingsThere were no certain motives for the killings. Gilbert wasa highly skilled nurse, and a “social butterfly” at themedical center. But, she was having an affair with hospitalsecurity guard James Perrault. It is believed that Kristenwould put her patients in emergency conditions, becausehospital security always came rushing at an emergency, soshe could show off her nursing skills and flirt withPerrault. Gilbert eventually left her husband and kids forPerrault
The Killings The Method of Killing Gilbert killed her victims by injecting them withthe drug epinephrine, which caused them to have massive heart attacks and die.
The victims All of Kristen Gilbert’s victims were white male hospitalized veterans. These men were perfect victims-they were all vulnerable because of their physical and mental illnesses. Gilbert was convicted of four murders. Their names were Henry Hudon (age 35), Stanley Jag0dowski (age 66), Kenny Cutting (age 41), and Edward Skwira (age 68).
Caught& Convicted Three suspicious coworkers of Gilbert came forward and sparked the investigation thateventually got Gilbert caught. Gilbert was under suspicion because there was an unusual amount of deaths and near deaths of patients that were under her care, and bottles of epinephrine weresaid to be missing. A test of the exhumed body ofone of the victims found that there were traces ofepinephrine in the body that shouldn’t have beenthere; the victim was never supposed to be given epinephrine.
Caught& ConvictedOn March 14th,2001 at age 33, Kristen Gilbert wasconvicted of three counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, and two counts of attempted murder, and is suspected of 40+ other deaths. She was sentenced to four life sentences without possibility of parole plus 20 years. She had just barely escaped the death sentence.
Why are serial killers so difficult to spot? Serial killers are so difficult to spot because they live behind a “mask of sanity”. Most often serial killers are charming, well dressed and successful people. They oftenwear disguises, such as a counselor, police officer, or other successful figure in society. They fool people to gain theirtrust. They do not feel sympathy for others, however theyare able to imitate the normal behavior they have learned from other people.For example, Kristen Gilbert was an attractive, charming, and talented young nurse. When one thinks of a serial killer, that is not the image that comes to mind.
What are the four types of serial killer crime scenes?1. Organized Crime Scene- is a planned offense in which the victim is a targeted stranger. Most often the body is hidden or disposed of. There is very little to no evidence at the scene of the crime. Kristen Gilbert had an organized crime scene.2. Disorganized Crime Scene- victim is selected at random.The crime scene is sloppy, evidence is left. Sudden violenceon the victim.3. Mixed Crime Scene- includes characteristics from bothorganized and disorganized crime scenes.4. Atypical Crime Scene- cannot be classified by theremains of the victim. This crime scene usually pertains todecomposed remains.
What I learnedWhat surprised me the most was learning that most serialkillers do not appear to be serial killers at all. They areusually very well kept, organized, intelligent people.I was appalled that Kristen Gilbert not only killed herpatients, but that her patients were brave men who hadonce served our country.