How Nurse Kristen Gilbert Murdered Our Nation's Heroes

Jonny Llama
  Published on March 8, 2022   
Big thanks to Former Special Agent Bruce Sackman for an exclusive interview and for protecting our soldiers. Check out his book, Behind The Murder Curtain on Amazon!

Kristen Gilbert is an American medical serial killer charged and convicted of murdering several veterans while she was a nurse at a VA hospital in Leeds, MA. Gilbert may have been responsible for over 100 deaths during a 7-year killing spree. She is serving life in prison without parole.

"The VA will own my soul."

USAF veteran Henry Hudon predicted his own murder saying, "The VA will own my soul."

USAF veteran Henry Hudon predicted his own murder, saying, "The VA will own my soul."


Henry Hudon proudly served in the United States Air Force before Nurse Gilbert killed him on December 8th, 1995. The USAF discharged Hudon after a near-fatal bar fight, where a broken beer bottle hit the back of his head so hard that it detached his retina. Although Hudon was lucky to survive, the traumatic event brought symptoms of paranoid-schizophrenia that left him in need of a primary caretaker.

Assigned to Ward C and in the care of Kristen Gilbert, Hudon suddenly felt that his life was in real danger. "You can't leave me here!", Henry told his mom and brother, "People are dying around here for no reason! The patients are talking about it. The staff is talking about it. The staff is talking to the patients about it." 😧

An illustration from the Boston Globe showing Henry Hudon, a victim of Kristen Gilbert, being cared for by his mother.

An illustration from the Boston Globe showing Henry Hudon, a victim of Kristen Gilbert, being cared for by his mother.


Staff ignored Henry's cries for help. They knew of his propensity to hear voices. He was delusional, they thought.

Hudon died 45 minutes later after Nurse Kristen Gilbert visited his hospital room, alone.

Caregiver or killer? Playing the role.

Kristen Heather Strickland (later Gilbert) was born on November, 13, 1967 in Fall River, Massachusetts. The Stricklands lived in a middle class home and raised two daughters, Kristen being the oldest.

Kristen Gilbert was well loved by her co-workers, many could not believe that she was a murderer in training.

Her co-workers loved her and many could not believe that she was a murderer in training.


From an early age, Kristen’s peers found her behaviour troubling. Although she excelled in her grades, leading the Math Club and her honors classes, many other kids knew her as a manipulator. "Twisted but not stupid." as one of her former boyfriends had claimed. This boyfriend claimed that she would tamper with his car, claw his skin with her fingernails, and once even left a suicide note that claimed she had eaten glass.

Kristen's father even told a psychiatrist that her daughter was a habitual liar. Being from Fall River, Gilbert would brag throughout her life that she was a distant relative of Lizzie Borden, the Fall River murderess who chopped to pieces her entire family.

After Kristen graduated from Greenfield Community College, she met and married her husband Glenn Gilbert. Although Kristen Gilbert proved to be unfaithful to Glenn, their marriage still produced two sons. The first child was born in 1990, followed by the second in 1993 when Kristen was 26-years-old.

One of her co-workers, Nurse Frank Bertrand, said about Kristen, "I don't know if she had two personalities or something that she could turn on or turn off, much like an actor playing a role."

Code Red

The fascinating true story of Special Agent Bruce Sackman, and how him and his team brought down some of the most deadly medical serial killers.

The fascinating true story of Special Agent Bruce Sackman, and how he and his team brought down some of the most deadly medical serial killers.


Special Agent Bruce Sackman, in his book Behind the Murder Curtain, described Kristen Gilbert as a "code junkie". He found Kristen deliberately put herself around emergency situations where a patient's life depended on her actions. We believe that Kristen Gilbert would cause many times these "codes" after spiking an IV bag or injecting her patients.

Gilbert found pleasure in the praise her peers gave her for "saving lives". Only later they discovered she was the reason they needed saving at all.

Affairs out-of-order.

An image from the Boston Globe showing Gilbert wiping forehead sweat from James Perrault's, her secret boyfriend, brow. Gilbert would intentionally 'code' patients to play "footsie" with James.

An image from the Boston Globe showing Gilbert wiping forehead sweat from James Perrault's, her secret boyfriend, brow. Gilbert would intentionally 'code' patients to play "footsie" with James.


Although Kristen was a married mother of two, she still found time to blossom a romantic relationship with a co-worker and VA security employee, James Perrault.

Perrault, a Persian Gulf War Army veteran, was required to respond to hospital codes as well if someone was dying. Soon Kristen and James started a secret affair. Perrault testified, "After a few weeks of just flirting back and forth, we were down at the VFW, and after the VFW close, I walked her out to her vehicle and had a kiss." 💋

It soon became clear that Kristen Gilbert was purposely trying to kill her patients so that she could see her lover for a just a few minutes. Newspapers reported that co-workers even caught the two "playing footsie", while doctors struggled to bring her victims back to life.

Gilbert soon left her husband with her two children and moved closer to James Perrault after trying unsuccessfully to poison her husband, Glenn.

Pumped To Kill

A jury found Kristen Gilbert guilty of killing patients at a VA hospital in Leeds, MA.

A jury found Kristen Gilbert guilty of killing patients at a VA hospital in Leeds, MA.


Stanley J. Jagodowski was a decorated Army veteran that served in the Korean War. The 66-year-old had since became overweight, developed diabetes, and spent many of his days in the care of medical professionals.

On August 21, 1995, the VA assigned Jagodowski to Ward C under the care of Kristen Gilbert while he recovered from a post-operative bowel obstruction operation. He was on his way to recovery and better health.

Two licenced nurses documented that at 8:43pm Stanley was in good spirits and his vitals were normal.

"Just after leaving, one of the nurses saw Gilbert go into Jagodowski's room with a needle and a swab in her hand, under the pretext of 'flushing' his intravenous line with 'saline' to keep the line open," Assistant US Attorneys said in court papers.

One nurse overheard Stanley cry out, "Ow! It hurts. You're killing me."

Jagodowski's body shot into cardiac arrest, and he was dead within 3 hours. Kristen Gilbert had pumped her victim with epinephrine, a heart stimulant.

Curtains for Kristen Gilbert

Kristen Gilbert is serving life in prison at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kristen Gilbert is serving life in prison at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.


On March 26, 2001, a jury convicted Kristen Heather Gilbert to life imprisonment for murdering patients while employed at the Northampton VA. Gilbert narrowly avoided the death penalty and is currently serving her sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

Sources

Behind the Murder Curtain: Special Agent Bruce Sackman Hunts Doctors and Nurses Who Kill Our Veterans (Amazon)
Caregiver or killer? (The Boston Globe 08 October 2000)
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14 comments on “How Nurse Kristen Gilbert Murdered Our Nation's Heroes”

  1. Not yet, but I do regret telling Nicole that you can make cyanide from avocado pits. Draw me a nice picture and I'll stick it to the front of the website.

  2. I am a nurse and this blows my mind. Also interesting comment at the end about advice to nurses because we get talked to about recognizing the signs of narcotic diversion, but not coworkers who may be killing patients...

  3. Really great episode as always! I was surprised about the comments regarding lack of protection for coworkers whistle blowing on suspicious activity. I think things have changed since this case and some others reported. In the hospitals I worked with for the past 20 yrs, compliance is strongly emphasized. There are multiple avenues to provide anonymous reports and stated protections if you think something is not right. We have yearly training on this and are told it is everyone’s responsibility. Again great episode.

    1. First off, thanks for what you do. Health care workers are vital and underpaid. It's good to know that things are changing as far as reporting is concerned. I guess it just takes a few tragedies for us to learn what to do and not do. Thanks so much for listening!

  4. Yes, Guinness all around. 2 for Guineas Phage!
    I think I read about this story a long time ago but you did waaaay better bc they didn’t give any details like you did. She is really the face of the VA. Anyways, It is so interesting how people like this become healthcare professionals. I wonder why psych evals aren’t done for health staff like they do for Law enforcement. Both can cause massive damage in either field.

    1. I love the tagline there. Maybe there's such a shortage and need for healthcare that psych evals are overlooked. I know police have a strict policy for psych evals, but they are carrying a loaded firearm around all day. Although after researching this case, I can say that doctors are carrying loaded syringes all day long.

  5. OMG you guys are seriously my favorite podcast, used to be a crime junky person, but you all have quickly became my fave. I love the "peanut gallery" TMTM wouldn't be TMTM without Jenn and Nicole!❤️

    1. That's so sweet of you to say. I honestly never heard a crime junkie episode, but you may like the other true crime podcast I produce for a good friend in Colorado. Among The Dirt And Trees. Breeann is a fantastic storyteller. Thanks for they fan love!

  6. Yet again, another amazing episode!! It's crazy to think about how often this does happen. Quite scary actually. Thank you for the incredible show, and always looking forward to the next episode. (Sadly, I don't know how many love Patreon shows I'll be able to join. My schedule got changed to getting done at 2:30 on Saturday now. )

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