Profile of Serial Killer Richard Angelo

Angel of Death

Richard Angelo Walking to Court

Bettmann/Getty Images

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.

Background and Early Life

Born on August 29, 1962, in West Islip, New York, Richard Angelo was the only child of Joseph and Alice Angelo. The Angelos worked in the educational sector - Joseph was a high school guidance counselor and Alice taught home economics. Richard's childhood years were unremarkable. Neighbors described him as a nice boy with nice parents.

After graduating in 1980 from St. John the Baptist Catholic High School, Angelo attended the State University of Stony Brook for two years. He was then accepted into a two-year nursing program at the State University at Farmingdale. Described as a quiet student who kept to himself, Angelo excelled in his studies and made the dean's honor list each semester. He graduated in good standing in 1985.

First Hospital Job

Angelo's first job as a registered nurse was in the burn unit at the Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow. He stayed there a year, then took a position at Brunswick Hospital in Amityville, Long Island. He left that position to move to Florida with his parents, but returned to Long Island alone, three months later, and began working at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Playing Hero

Richard Angelo quickly established himself as a highly competent and well-trained nurse. His calm demeanor was well fitted for the high stress of working the graveyard shift in an intensive care unit. He gained the trust of the doctors and other hospital personnel, but that wasn't enough for him.

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 the doctors, 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 from 11 pm to 7 am put Angelo into the perfect position to continue to work on his feeling of inadequacy, so much so that during his relatively 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.

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, however, the judge did not allow the polygraph evidence into the court.

Sentenced to 61 Years

Angelo was 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.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Montaldo, Charles. "Profile of Serial Killer Richard Angelo." ThoughtCo, Jul. 30, 2021, Montaldo, Charles. (2021, July 30). Profile of Serial Killer Richard Angelo. Retrieved from Montaldo, Charles. "Profile of Serial Killer Richard Angelo." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).