Lloyd Harbor son drowned mom in pool after fight over medicine, prosecutor says

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Son drowned mom in pool after fight over meds, prosecutor says
Kristin Thorne has the details.

LLOYD HARBOR, Long Island (WABC) -- A man charged with killing his mother by drowning her in their Long Island swimming pool Wednesday gave details of the crime in a taped confession, prosecutors said.

Denis Cullen Jr., 23, of Lloyd Harbor, is facing charges of second-degree murder in the death of 63-year-old Elizabeth Cullen at their home on White Hill Road.

During Cullen's arraignment Thursday, prosecutors said he told police during a multi-hour confession that he and his mother were in the pool when they got into a fight about him not taking his psychiatric medication.

He had been diagnosed several years ago with paranoid schizophrenia and had been recently released from the hospital.

"He put her in a headlock, walked from the shallow end of the pool with her in the headlock to the deep end of the pool -- all the time while she was struggling," said Robert Biancavilla with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

Cullen drowned her there, according to prosecutors, and then took her body out of the pool and put it near a shed in their backyard, covering it with a dingy.

"He went into the house and took a shower. Went into his mom's wallet, took money out, credit card," Biancavilla explained. "Took her car to the Cold Spring Harbor train station. Took a train into Manhattan, he met up with his sister. He explained to his sister what happened. She notified her father. Then the three of them returned to the Lloyd Harbor residence where he was placed under arrest."

"He said she struggled violently and he was very surprised that a woman of her stature could struggle as much as she did," Biancavilla said.

Cullen's attorney said he spoke with with his client for about 20 minutes Thursday morning.

"He's pretty calm," said Steve Fondulis. "He hasn't been convicted of anything so he's not sorry at this point. He hasn't said 'I'm sorry.'"

Cullen is being held on $8 million bail.

Elizabeth Cullen ran Winn Collen Interiors out of Cold Spring Harbor. She was the daughter of the late Maj. Gen. George William Casey, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam in July 1970. Her brother, George Casey Jr., is a former Army chief of staff.