ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kristen Strickland: The Killer Nurse

Updated on January 12, 2012

Kristen Heather Strickland was born November 13, 1967 in Fall River, Massachusetts. The older of two daughters, she was described as a bright, attractive child who grew up in a well adjusted home. She appeared to be a normal child, at least until she reached her teens.

As she matured she developed into an intelligent, smart young lady and took on an air of sophistication which her friends admired. However, she had several major character flaws. She was a thief who stole articles of clothing from friends and when caught red handed would vehemently deny the accusations.

She was also a compulsive liar who told her friends she was related to Lizzie Borden, the infamous axe murderess, and her mother was an alcoholic who continually abused her. Why she felt a need to conjure up such tales has never been determined. Some researchers theorize it was a deep seated craving for attention. For example, she would sometimes fake suicide to be noticed.

One other facet of Kristen’s character was she had a violent temper, especially when it came to boyfriends. Former boyfriends told of how she would damage their cars or physically attack them. It was these traits that set the stage for future events which would earn her the title “The Angel of Death.”

In 1988, Kristen graduated as a registered nurse from Greenfield Community College, MA. Shortly after, she met a young man at Hampton Beach, N.H. named Glenn Gilbert, who she married. With her brand spanking new nursing degree she accepted a job at the Veterans Administration medical center in Northampton, MA in March of 1989. The Gilbert’s bought a home and began their new life.

Fellow employees described Kristen as competent and committed to her job. Her superiors rated her as "highly skilled” and commended her on her expertise during medical emergencies. However, her coworkers would later reevaluate their opinions.

After having her first child in late 1990 she returned to work and immediately changed her schedule to the midnight shift which wasn’t very popular with most of the nursing staff. No one questioned her decision to do so at the time as it fit into her image as the faithful, dedicated nurse she portrayed.

However, almost immediately patients began to die on her shift, triple the rate of the previous three years. But Kristen's competent nursing skills kept any suspicions of involvement in their deaths at bay. It was also about this time the Gilbert’s had a second child and marital problems arose.

Kristen began an affair with James G. Perrault, a Hospital security guard who worked part of her shift. The two often went for drinks with other workers at the end of their shifts. It was part of Perrault’s responsibility to be present at any medical emergency on Kristen’s ward. During such emergencies Kristen would show off her nursing skills in front of her lover. She also took the opportunity to flirt with him, which was noted by other workers on the ward.

In the fall of 1994, her husband noticed his meals began having an odd taste and he became convinced she was trying to poison him. He told his friends he thought his wife wanted him dead by Thanksgiving, although it was never proven. It was then Perrault pressed Kristen to leave her husband. She did.

Meanwhile at the VA Hospital patients were still dropping like flies and Kristen's coworkers began noticing most of the deaths always occurred on Kristen's shift. Although many who died were old with heart complications and other serious problems, many in relatively good health were also dying of cardiac arrest. But still, no one ventured to voice their suspicions. Perhaps because for some it seemed too fantastic to believe a nurse would intentionally kill her patients.

But not all of the nurses thought it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility and began to monitor drugs which could cause cardiac arrest. They discovered one such drug, epinephrine, was being stolen. Only several nurses on the staff were allowed access to it. Kristen was one. From that point on these nurses came under close scrutiny.

It wasn’t long before Kristen showed her hand. She gave a nurse suffering from asthma a vial of epinephrine. There was little doubt left as to who was stealing the drug. Although this pointed the finger of guilt squarely at Kristen, one other incident raised suspicions even further.

In February of 1996 Kristen wanted to knock off early, no doubt to meet with Perrault. She asked her supervisor a peculiar question. The question was, if her patient in Intensive Care died, could she leave work early. Although the supervisor thought it an odd question she answered yes. Within hours the patient died of a heart attack.

A few weeks later an AIDS patient suddenly passed out after Kristen had flushed his intravenous lines. Nurses on the ward finally decided to report their suspicions. Federal investigators quickly determined the common denominator to many of the deaths was Kristen Gilbert. During the seven years Kristen had been working at the VA Hospital over 350 deaths had occurred during her shift. There was no way such a number of deaths could be attributed to mere coincidence.

The question was why? Amazingly, it was determined she committed the acts simply so her lover would be summoned. When he arrived she would try to impress him with her nursing skills. It also gave her a chance to be close and flirt with him.

During the investigation Kristen had been suspended from work. Perrault, sensing he had made a huge mistake by getting involved with Kristen, decided to end the affair in June of 1996. Shortly after Kristen tried to commit suicide by overdosing on drugs and was admitted to a hospital psychiatric ward. While in the hospital, she phoned Perrault and confessed she had killed patients. Perrault notified the authorities.

After a lengthy trial in 2001, a jury found her guilty of first-degree murder in three deaths, second-degree murder in one more and the attempted murder of two others. She was sentenced to life in prison.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Sorry about not answering any comments on this. Been having trouble with the editing tool. I really appreciate all of your comments.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My father worked there when this happened I couldn't believe it I was scared when I found out

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I remember reading a story about her. I am an RN and was stunned that a nurse would intentionally kill.... I guess I was a little naïve. Thanks for the Hub!

    • efeyas profile image


      6 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Awesome, loved it!

    • cometdog profile image


      6 years ago

      that's very interesting. You don't often hear about women serial killers.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)