Murder, Mayhem, & Miles

Murder, Mayhem, & Miles - Kristen Gilbert the Veteran’s Angel of Death

October 17, 2022 Season 1 Episode 24
Murder, Mayhem, & Miles
Murder, Mayhem, & Miles - Kristen Gilbert the Veteran’s Angel of Death
Show Notes Transcript

Hey, fellow true crime fiend,

This 28-day virtual mileage challenge is the perfect way to get excited about racking up your miles while learning about some infamous crimes along a virtual route!

While we kicked it off on October 10th, there is still plenty of time to get in on the fun!
Learn more and sign up today here>>

You can do 50 miles or 75 solo or tackle it with a fellow true crime fiend. Don't worry about location or time you can do it from anywhere in the world. 

Walk, Run, Hike, Bike, or Elliptical miles all count!

Don't forget about the AWESOME prizes! And speaking about prizes! Congratulations to week 1 winner, Michelle W.
Awesome work, Michelle!

Have any questions, reach out to me at

Registration is just $15!

Our 33-minute workout (Walking, running, hiking, cycling, or elliptical)

6-min warm-up
6-min Harder Effort (5-7 RPE)
3-min Conversation Effort (3-4 RPE)
1-min walk (2-3 RPE)
6-min Harder Effort (5-7 RPE)
3-min Conversation Effort (3-4 RPE)
1-min Push Pace (7-9 RPE)
6-min cool-down

We will be using RPE found here >>

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You can find it here >>

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Please consult a physician before starting any new exercise routine.

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Welcome to Running Scared with Coach Christine, I’m Coach Christine a Level 2 RRCA and Run/Walk/Run Certified Coach. If you enjoy are a bit of true crime junkie and enjoy running, then welcome, friend. You have found your corner of the internet. 

Let’s go ahead and get started right into today's workout with a walking warmup.  

You’ll want to make sure that you are walking tall, relaxed, and staying light on your feet. If you are outdoors, please be very mindful of your surroundings and it is always a good idea to make sure someone knows where you are heading. If you are inside on a treadmill, bring the incline on your treadmill to 1% to help minimize the impact on your joints.

This is the 2nd episode of the Murder, Mayhem, and Miles challenge. If you are listening to this in October of 2022 and still want to sign up reach out to me at We are on a virtual journey from Fall River to Salem while learning about true crime events along the way. 
The first episode kicked off this mileage challenge with the infamous Lizzie Borden and trust me folks that there was definitely quite a bit of chit chat on whether or not folks feel she was indeed to murdereress. If you want to learn more visit the Facebook group page! And stay tuned at the end of today’s workout we will learn the winner of week 1’s challenge. The prize is a Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Call me a Jogger again and I’ll bury you notebook. Link to the collection is in episode notes! 

Before we dive right into this, I want to warn you that likely this episode is going to piss you off. That’s right, our very own Mistress of Murder and Mayhem is going to make you sooooo mad that you may actually end up wanting to turn your run or walk into a kickboxing session. Today we will learn about a nurse that was hired to help care for and treat for our US Veterans. Men and women who had served their country and lived through harrowing ordeals only to be at the mercy of a killer that enjoyed the thrill of “emergencies” and wanted to show off to her lover. Yep, this crazy ass bissshhh would kill patients in an effort to show off her nursing skills. All I can say, friends, is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot….cause WTF? 

As usual I will not give out information that is excessively gory or scary, but if this isn’t something you feel comfortable hearing, please check out the Serial recap or a fun conversation with Ghost Ambassador from AMerican GHost Adventures.

However, something tells me you knew what you signed up for when you hit play. 

Great work on warming it up, allowing your body to wake up, and creating a bit of inner heat to help make the workout smoother. 

I use the rate of perceived effort aka RPE to help structure this workout. However, we are going to use the RPE scale True Crime style. 1. We are out for an ez peasy, lemon squeezy stroll and 10 is Bisshhh there is a murderer on the loose heading your way, you better sprint for your life. 

I’ll add the full scale into episode notes. 

For today’s workout, let’s put that “bissshhh I am so angry” energy to good use, so we alternate 6 minute harder paced efforts at 5-7 on the RPE scale  with 3 minute recovery efforts of active recovery. If you are running this would be more of a 10k race pace for those 6-minutes with lighter easier running. Walking would be power walking, with lighter segment of recover, but as always make this your own friends and make this workout suit your needs for today.

Alright, friends let’s get into that first segment here 6 minutes at the harder effort. YOU HAVE GOT THIS! 

As you ramp up the effort, I’ll kick off today’s case. There are very few times, when I can say that our killer was described as upbeat, bubbly, and adored by many of her friends, coworkers, and neighbors, but that was indeed how many folks would have described Kristen Gilbert, before they came to learn that she had a very dark, sinister nature within. 

Kristen was born on November 13, 1967 in Fall River (ummhmm folks, if you recall we spent quite a bit of time in Fall River with Lizze last week, well we are going to explore that fine city a bit more before we take our mileage challenge up to Boston). 

Kristen was the oldest of two daughters. Her father Richard was an electronics executive, while Claudia was a homemaker and part-time teacher. Her younger sister, Tara was born in 1974 and in when discussing history of a true crime case, it is rare to say that it seemed normal, idyllic even. Kristen and her sister grew up in suburbia USA, idyllic and quiet neighborhoods where folks felt safe to leave their front doors unlocked and you would always be able to borrow a cup of sugar from a friendly neighbor. 

Kristen’s family moved to Groton when she was a preteen. She rode the bus to school. She baby-sat the neighbors' kids. She watched soap operas. She was a sterling student who breezed through honors classes. She joined the Math Club and went to the prom with the smartest boy in her 1985 graduating class at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School.

A former neighborhood playmate described her as a great kid. A cute kid,'' ''She seemed decent and normal - pretty intelligent, sharp.''

That’s one way she was described by folks throughout her life, but well, you know that wasn’t it right? She didn’t just one day “snap”. Others close to her described her as a manipulator, conniving liar, and with a penchant for dramatic flair and histrionics. 

Actually what her ex-Boyfriends are quoted as saying is that she was ''twisted but not stupid,'' capable of scary histrionics, tampering with their cars, and fits of attack in which her fingernails clawed through skin. One former boyfriend said Kristen once left him a fake suicide note in which she claimed to have eaten glass.

Her father, years later, would tell a psychiatrist that his daughter was a habitual liar who once convinced her college roommates that her mother was an abusive drunk. It wasn't true, Richard Strickland said.

A former neighbor who lived across the street from the Stricklands in Groton said She was one strange girl who would brag about a distant, unsubstantiated relationship to Lizzie Borden. 

This neighbor also said that when they would sit at home watching their favorite soap-opera, General Hospital that Kristen’s favorite character was an evil nurse by the name of Amy….when questioned as to why she would like such a horrible character, Kristen replied… “I just like her.” 

Is this the part that your spidey signals are going off and you are thinking danger, danger will robinson…well you would indeed be correct, but also a great time to check in with your form as we keep moving. 

Back to Kristen, she does indeed finish up her time at high school and with very high marks and honors she actually graduated a year and half early earning her high school diploma at 16. While it seemed to depend on who you spoke with and maybe dependent on the day that you would get a different side of Kristen, but just like her favorite character was in General Hospital, after high school she goes on to enroll atBridgewater State College with a major in pre-med, but after a faked suicide attempt, she disenrolled from that college. She met Glenn Gilbert in summer of 1986 and they started dating. She then enrolled at Greenfield Community College, where she studied microbiology and surgical nursing and earned her nursing degree in 1988. During this time, she and Glenn were professing all of those sweet young love type of promises and they eloped right before her graduation in January of 1988 ….. Now this is where things get a bit interesting. 

Just before they eloped, Kristen had taken a job as a home health aide with the Visiting Nurses Association of Franklin County. And, there are records that indicate that she used scalding bathwater to punish a mentall disabled child which resulted in severe burns over 60% of his body. While I couldn’t find out why she was not prosecuted, I will assume that she claimed it to be an accident. But yes, friends, this is where it begins that you will likely start to absolutely loathe this woman. 

This is also though a time to keep those feet moving cause in 30 seconds you will get your opportunity to bring it back down into an active recovery, which means you will still be moving and pushing forward just with a bit more of a chance to catch your breath. Perfect timing so that you can mutter out loud…oh this bish be crazy. It’s okay we are all thinking it. 

Bring it down into your active recovery. This is not a stop, it’s an opportunity to pull back on that pace and effort and bring your heart rate down and catch your breath. We will be here at this effort for 3 minutes, then we will have a full 60 second recovery where you can grab a drink of water before we repeat this 6 minute hard effort, 3 minute lighter effort and then 1 minute PUSH before we finish up with our 5 minute walking cooldown. 

Once you catch your breath shake out those hands, release any tension and get back to that comfortable effort.

Let’s get back to learning more about Kristen….shortly after the elopement to Glenn while still a newlywed, she decides to celebrate marital bliss by chasing Glenn around the house with a butcher knife threatening to kill him. Counting the red flags are you? Don’t bother…you are going to lose track, but suffice to say we are starting to see that while her coworkers would go onto originally call her bubbly and outgoing that there was quite a bit of darkness boiling up inside that would eventually spill over. 

Well after she graduates she starts to look for employment and I assume that she had a bit of difficulty gaining a job after the issue with the patient that suffered burns due to her treatment, but in 1989 she is indeed hired to work as a nurse at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in the Leeds section of Northampton which was located on a 105 acres of pine-studded land known as Bear Hill. The 191-bed facility is a sprawling campus of 26 red-brick colonial buildings, six miles of winding roadway, broad shade trees, and trickling fountains.

Kristen Gilbert began her VA nursing career on March 6, 1980 in Building One, the main medical unit. Its lobby holds a glass-case display of military patches from Marine, airborne, and infantry units, proud insignias of the patients upstairs.

She worked the day shift and at night went home to her husband, Glenn Gilbert, who after escaping her butcher knife rampage decided eehhh she’s kinda crazy but I like that so they were still married and it seemed like life stablized as she became employed and he gained employment in the medical field as well, working for a nearby optical lens firm.

At the VA center, Kristen quickly acquired a reputation as a can-do, take-charge nurse, a young woman at the center of her ward's professional and social life.

At Christmas time, Kristen always made sure that we had like a secret Santa and she coordinated gift drives to needy families. She ran the Sunshine Fund, which sent flowers to newlyweds, new parents, and sick colleagues.

If her social skills were exceptional, so too were her nursing abilities, supervisors said.

On of her proficiency reports stated that Kristen readily recognizes actual or potential changes in patients' conditions. She is highly skillful in medical emergencies. And she is calm and compassionate with the mentally compromised patient. She is routinely assigned to ICU.

During this time, Kristen is building her career, her husband Glenn is building his and they decide to start their family. So in 1990 Kristen switched to the night shift and her and Glenn welcome their first child, a boy, Brian. She took off a traditional maternity leave, but returned to the VA from maternity leave in March 1991 and was permanently assigned to the 4 p.m. to midnight evening shift.Sound great right?!

Well maybe not, but first friends this is your time we are at the halfway point if you want to pull back into a 60 second walk or if you want to get back into a harder effort do so now but remember we have a 6 minute hard effort block coming up. 

While you are in this 60 second block I’ll let you know that the conflicted reports we heard about Kristen when she was younger continue here as well. 

While her performance review pretty much glowed with her awesomeness, wellllll I can assure you not everyone thought that Kirsten was made out of sunshine, rainbows and unicorn farts because  right before she went out on maternity leave a pattern began to emerge of an unusually large number of deaths in Ward C where Kristen had been working and more so specifically during her work shifts. One doctor refused to let her treat anymore of his patients. 

However, that seemed to pass over and she returned to work, but interestingly enough it started to happen again…patients during her shifts would start passing again. Her coworkers jokingly nicknamed her Angel of Death. 

Right?!?! WTF people….how do you jokingly call someone an angel of death. 

Alright back into our last half of this workout in your harder effort 6 minute block in 3,2,1..

You’ve got this friends….bump up the pace like you were just assigned to Nurse Kristen Gilbert’s care and you gots to get the hell out of dodge. 

Now another interesting aspect of Kristen was that it seemed like just as folks started to get a bit suspicious of her behavior or her performance something “big” would happen that would alleviate the focus or scrutiny. 

So around this time that she is being called the Angel of Death around 1992 she reported that she had received a bomb threat which resulted in the entire ward being evacuated for hours! But the police were unable to find any such threat against her. 

Anywhoooo that didn’t much matter as much because Kristen and Glenn were expecting again and everyone loves a baby shower to take their minds off of a possible killer nurse right? 

On Nov. 13, 1993, Glenn and Kristen celebrated the birth of their second child, another son. It was a special birthday present for the mother: Kristen turned 26 the same day, a happy coincidence that almost certainly did not escape the hospital's warm Sunshine Fund.

But again….Kristen well Kristen had something that she was keeping from Glenn. 

Cause well back when Kristen began work on the VA Medical Center's evening shift, James G. Perrault, an Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War who had been working as a department store security guard, joined the VA hospital's 11-member police force about 6 months after she took to the night shift. 

James worked the 3-to-11 night shift, rotating two-hour stints of patrolling the hospital's six miles of winding, narrow roadways and manning its security desk. When he was on the desk, hospital regulations required that he respond to all cardiac emergencies, otherwise known as “codes” 

Within a year he was flirting with the pretty nurse on Ward C, who was frequently on duty when patients in Building One's second-floor medical unit plunged into distress.That pretty nurse ….none other than mama of 2, married angel of death Kristen. 

James said later on that Kristen and him just had a lot in common and what I think he meant about that was that they were both horny and loved flirting while at work. 

Then in August 1995 while going out with several coworkers of the hospital's evening shift Jim and Kristen would often chat it up after work hours at the local VFW drinking beer and blowing off steam.

Now James knew that Kristen was a wife and a mother of two. But she hinted that her marriage was on the rocks and the diagnosis was a good ole fashioned case of 7-year itch. Her prescription to this marital disharmony was to exchanged e-mails that were seductive and funny and, increasingly, sexually charge with her cowork James. It wasn’t long after they regularly met up with their coworkers at the VFW that they finally decided to up the ante on their flirtation and in the summer of 1994 they began their affair. 

Now Glenn, oh dear sweet Glenn. He met James once during a summertime boating weekend, but he said he only noticed that his wife began preparing home-cooked meals more frequently…and that these new recipes she was trying out were tasting “odd”. Later on investigators stated that they suspected that Kristen was lacing his food and that as the initial year of her affair continued to heat up she was determined to have Glenn out of the picture by Thanksgiving. And, what Kristen wants…Kristen gets because on Nov. 5, 1995, after feeling sick all day, Glenn became violently ill. Late that night, Kristen drove him to the emergency room at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. He was diagnosed with low potassium and glucose levels, treated, and sent home. A week later…he fainted after having a new recipe that Kristen had lovingly made him. 

But well if you are thinking how did Kristen have time to have an affair, she has two young sons, a husband she is cooking for all the damn time, and working full-time. Well friends…let’s connect the dots. 

Back at the VA medical center policy was that James had to attend to any cardiac crises or “codes”. And well Kristen really wanted to see James as often as possible…lucky for her but not so much for her patients…they seemed to have a lot of medical crises during her shifts. Coworkers started to become really worried after one particular conversation Kristen had when she asked her supervisor if she could leave early if her patient died. I mean she had an affair to conduct an arsenic filled lasagna to make…she had better things to do than attend to her ill patient. Her supervisor jokingly said yep, sure you can leave early if your patient dies.

Within a couple of hours Kristen was clocking out of her shift early because her patient had died. 

Alright friends amazing work..we are going into our active recovery for 3 minutes before you have the opportunity to go into a final PUSH and then our walking cool-down.

So after Kristen makes that remark to her supervisor and her patient dies. Folks started to really take notice and a fellow coworker started counting the medication bottles of epinephrine that seemed to always be a bit lighter during inventory after Kristen’s shifts. Epinephrine or epi-pens for any of yall that have severe allergic reactions know that it can be super useful in counteracting severe causes of death when you are suffereing from an allergic reaction, but injected into a healthy heart or one that is at the very least NOT in an allergic response can severe cardiac response that can result in death. 

It didn’t take long for a watcheful eye to come to the conclusion that yes, indeed after a particularly bad night when several patients had died during Kristen’s shift that all 3 bottles of epinephrine were gone. 

The numbers were quite startingly once you started to really take count. Records indicated that when Kristen joined the evening shift in early 1991, its death rate tripled compared with the previous three years. The death rate on the overnight shift, which she left in late 1990, dropped back to 1988 levels. But here we are in 1995 and Kristen’s trial of destruction is still positively ablazed with patients coding during her care…More and more coworkers started to notice that her patients seemed scared of her as well. A few patients outright refused to be treated by her. 

During this time, Kristen is also telling her lover, James that her husband Glenn is abusing her. James gave her an ultimatium saying absolutely not you cannot stay with a man that is abusing you when I love you so much and we could start a life together ourselves. So that very day in December of 1995 after unsuccessfully attempting to be rid of Glenn she leaves him and her two children to start her love life over. 

Now she is living in an apartment near James, files for divorce from Glenn on December 20th of 1995 and her coworkers are like…oh no you didn’t bish….we know something fishy is up with you. 

So they take copious notes and observations and in feb of 1996 after the death of several more patients during Kristen’s shift 3 of her fellow nurses John Wall, Kathy Rix, and Renee Walsh, come forward with concerns and accusations against Kristen. Thank you baby cheez-itz cause seriously this is just nonsense and luckily strength in numbers makes quite the impression because the supervisors at the VA Center move forward with providing these allegations and concens to the police and on 2/17/1996 police start their investigation on our little Senorita of Death here, Nurse Kristen. 

All right, friends….we will learn more about the investigation but right here and now check in with your form and give me all you got for 60 seconds cause after this we have our cool-down. Now, remember that aerobic exercise helps you to stay healthier in several ways and nothing against our fine upstanding medical and front line professionals we absolutely love and adore you good people of the healthcare profession, but I want you to give me that 60 second push like YOU know that Nurse Ratchet I mean Kristen is after you…let’s go in 3, 2, 1…up for this 60 second push! 

You have got this! 

Let’s learn about this investigation as you push up the pace a bit. Well needless to say that February of 1996 when Kristen was just 28 ended up being not such a good time for her….the police investigation came underway and mannn did they start to uncover some goods. She was placed on admin leave during this time and the proverbial bedpan shit hit the fan my friends. 

James learning that his sweet, sexy nurse fantasy was maybe not that sweet steps back from the relationship a bit and that freaked Kristen out….so much so that she starts to act the fool and Kristen did what Kristen does best…she threw a proverbial hissy fit and accounts state that she faked a suicide attempt again to try and get James’ attention.

Okay friends bring it back down into our cooldown! Awesome work escaping from Nurse Kristen….

 Because well at this time she herself is hospitalized after her suicide attempt and during her hosptialziation she calls James and admits to him over the phone that she did indeed inject all the “guys at the hospital.” her psych hosptialization. 

He marched down to police headquarters with the information she provided him and also requested a restraining order. 

While the police are investigating they get a call from her soon to be ex-husband Glenn saying hey can yall come look around her cause I think you’ll be interested in stuff I found. And sure enough the police found a book titled “The handbook to poisoning” 

And upon her release from the psych unit she was pissed about Glenn betryaying her like that so she went to her old home and attempted to attack Glenn with her car keys. 

This bish be out of her ever lovin’ mind at this time. And I am not the only one that feels that way because she was again admitted to the psych unit and that is when she decides instead of calling Glenn or her lover James she would call in another bomb threat to the hospital. IN an effort to mitigate or hinder the murder investigation. 

Friends I can assure you here is where the house of cards officially started to fall, she was indicted on the calling in a false bomb threat and while in trial and eventually found guilty for that, the police continued their murder  investigation and on November of 1998 she was finally officially indicted on the murder charges.

VA hospital staff members speculated that Gilbert may have been responsible for 350 or more deaths and more than 300 medical emergencies. The intention behind her murder? She liked the attention both from coworkers and her lover. 

On March 14, 2001, a federal jury convicted Gilbert on three counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.Though Massachusetts does not have capital punishment, her crimes were committed on federal property and thus subject to the death penalty

On March 26, 2001, the jury recommended a sentence of life imprisonment.[1] On March 27, the judge formally sentenced Gilbert to four consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, plus 20 years. She was transferred from a prison for women in Framingham, Massachusetts to FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, where she has remained ever since.

Okay, friends we come to an end here and I know this was indeed a super frustrating case. Our military personnel deserve better than to fear for their life when seeking care at their VA medical center but also our frontline workers work tirelessly in an often thankless jobs and Kristen’s deranged killing spree unfortunately sets a bad tone for healthcare professionals that live their lives in a way to heal and nurse people back to health. 

So lessons learned….

  1. If she claims to be a descendent of Lizzie Borden, then you know this bish be crazy.
  2. The most important of all…….if you are suspicious or have a gut instinct that something is wrong…speak up. It can literally save lives when you do that.

Take care of yourselves rockstars! Great job and keep up the awesome work on the Murder, Mayhem, and Miles challenge. Next up on our virtual journey is Boston where we meet yes, another nurse that had a sexual fetish that well…let’s just say could kill you. 

Before that though, tune in this Thursday where we learn about female serial killers and what motivates them to kill. As we peek behind the curtain of their motives. 

And, in the meantime, take care of yourself, give yourself a pat on the back and hit me up on social. All of the ways to reach out to me can be found in episode notes! 

If you are enjoying this, please do subscribe and leave a review! Oh and the winner of Week 1, well friends if you are in the Facebook group page, you already know, but congratulations to the Murder, Mayhem, and Mileage week 1 winner ……. Michelle W. 

Thank you all for running scared with Coach Christine!