Don’t make the crazy people angry.
An unemployed Long Island man from a prestigious military family told cops he put his mother in a headlock, and drowned her in their backyard pool after she berated him for not taking his medication, officials said.
Denis Cullen Jr., 23, showed no remorse during his “chilling” video confession, according to prosecutors.
Instead, he marveled at how much his 5-foot-2 mom struggled in and out of the water as he threw his arm around her neck, dragged her to the pool, yanked her into the deep end and then held her under the water until she died.
“This is a son who killed his mother, and the way he killed her, the way he describes how it was done, is chilling,” Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said during a brief court appearance in Suffolk County court .
Cullen and his mother, Elizabeth Cullen, 63, were arguing morning in their Cold Spring Harbor home about Denis’ refusal to take his medication. It was not clear what the medication was for, but officials said that during the confrontation, she poked him.
And that’s when he went berserk.
“After she poked him, he put her in a headlock, walked her from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end of the pool, all the while she struggled,” Biancavilla said. “He said she struggled violently and he was surprised a woman of her stature could struggle as much as she did.”
The victim had come from a family of fighters. Her father, Maj. Gen. George William Casey, was killed in a helicopter crash in 1970 in South Vietnam. Casey, 48, was on his way to visit wounded soldiers when the helicopter slammed into a mountain. He was the highest ranking American officer killed in the Vietnam War.
Elizabeth Cullen’s brother, George William Casey Jr. (photo, right), is a retired Army general. He served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army between April 2007 and April 2011. Before than he led multi-national forces in Iraq for three years.
But it was a war with her own son that cost the mother of five her life.
Prosecutors said that after his mother stopped flailing, Cullen pulled his mother’s lifeless body out of the spacious pool, dragged it next to a shed and covered the body with a dinghy.
Then, according to court testimony, Cullen calmly went inside the sprawling $1.8 million White Hill Road home and took a shower before helping himself to money from his mother’s wallet, a credit card and the keys to her car.
Cullen then drove to a nearby Long Island Rail Road station, caught a train and headed into the city, like any one of the millions of people who take the commuter line to work every day. Cops said he was on his way to meet his sister.
Along the way, he phoned the sister, who contacted their father, Denis Cullen, a former top Chase bank executive who, according to his LinkedIn page, works for RBC Capital Markets. The dad called cops.
Police received a call around “about a possible intentional drowning” and descended on Cullen’s neighborhood, an area replete with multi-million dollar homes.
After arriving on the scene, the Lloyd Harbor police department alerted Suffolk County Police, which intervenes in homicide cases.
There, they found the dead mother’s body in the backyard.
Cullen returned to the scene of the grisly crime with his father and sister, and was handcuffed and arrested without incident, officials said.
He was charged with murder in the second degree, and was being held on $8 million bail. Cullen pleaded not guilty to the charge at First District Court in Central Islip.
None of his relatives were with him in court. Cullen is due back in court .
Cops said Cullen did not have a criminal history before the savage killing.
Outside the courthouse, Cullen’s court-appointed lawyer, Steve Fondulis, was asked if his client had expressed remorse.
“He hasn’t said ‘I’m sorry,’ if that’s what you’re asking,” Fondulis said.
“At this stage, I have to determine if he had a psychiatric background,” he added.
The lawyer said there was “some notion” of a history of mental illness or drug abuse.
Cops cordoned off the road outside the Suffolk County home as homicide detectives continued their investigation.
One of the suspect’s sisters, Courtenay Cullen, is in the Army. It was not clear if she was the sister he contacted after the murder.
The victim worked as an account coordinator with Edwin Bird Wilson, a New York advertising agency in the 1980s, according to a report. Biancavilla said the suspect lived with his parents at the home which sits on 3 acres of land.
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