Authors relate story of deaf convicted county killer in 'Deadly Charm'

Miss-Delectable

New Member
Authors relate story of convicted county killer in 'Deadly Charm' • Local (www.HometownAnnapolis.com - The Capital)

Patrick McCullough's final act was fatally shooting his girlfriend and himself nearly a decade ago, ending a life spent in and out of prison and mental institutions.

Now the crimes he committed in Anne Arundel and Charles counties in the 1980s and 1990s are being brought to the forefront in a new book.

In "Deadly Charm: The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer," writers McCay and Marie Vernon describe McCullough as someone who knew how to use his difficult life and disability to his advantage.

It took the husband-and-wife team about four years to conduct research for the book, which included reviewing old police reports, newspaper articles and court testimony. McCullough's remaining family - a sister - declined to be interviewed for the book, as did the relatives of Randi Marie Lawrence, the Waldorf woman he killed in 2001. McCullough also has a brother who lives in Alaska.

"(We) got a strong sense of how much charm he had, and how he knew how to use his assets, including his good looks and strong physical body to impress people and draw people to him," Marie Vernon said, speaking from the couple's home in St. Augustine, Fla.

"He even used deafness to draw people, especially women, who wanted to help him."

Twenty years before killing Lawrence, McCullough killed boatwright Clinton P. Riley, an Eastport man who hired him in 1979; and John Myer, an Annapolis parking attendant who was killed during a robbery in 1982, police and prosecutors said. He struggled with drugs and alcohol, along with a violent temper that kept him in and out of prison.

"I must be responsible, and I must control my temper," McCullough told the court during the Riley trial, according to The Capital. "I am not going to go again in trouble."

McCay Vernon, a forensic psychologist, met McCullough when he was a student at the Maryland School for the Deaf. They met again when McCullough was serving a sentence at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, where McCay was a volunteer researcher. The two often communicated through sign language within the prison's deaf unit.

Generally, prisons are isolating for deaf people, but the Jessup facility was able to provide resources, such as part-time interpreters and assistive devices, McCay said.

"(The prisons) were absolutely horrible and still are for a person who is deaf," he said, adding that McCullough managed to learn a trade while incarcerated. "Most deaf prisoners are fairly docile and not aggressive, (but) he would have been a difficult prisoner for any institution to manage. The guards were frightened by him."

Rough start
McCullough was born in Alaska in 1960 to a military family, and eventually his father was transferred to Fort George G. Meade. The family lived in Glen Burnie, and McCullough's parents worried about his hyperactive behavior and frequent violent tantrums, according to the book, which Gallaudet University Press published. His deaf diagnosis came by age 4, but his parents were told not to use American Sign Language with him so he would develop lip-reading skills.

His parents divorced and, at the age of 5, McCullough was declared a ward of the state. He was sent to the Maryland Institute for Children, which was located on the grounds of Rosewood State Hospital in Baltimore County. While there, "the older boys either admired or feared his strength and spunk, while the rest were won over by his wide grin and ingratiating manner," a pattern he'd later use to convince "judges that his felonies and misdemeanors were no fault of his own," the Vernons write in their book.

Behavior problems continued to be an issue throughout his youth. He was discharged from the facility and also spent time at the Maryland School for the Deaf - which dismissed him - and at various mental health institutions.

Riley, the boatwright who lived in Eastport, hired McCullough to work as a carpenter at his Yankee Yacht Carpentry Shop. But they got into a dispute about payment in 1980, and Riley accused McCullough of slashing his tires and stealing his dog. When a hunter discovered Riley's remains in 1981, McCullough told police he killed him in self-defense by slamming his head against the wall, crushing it against a door bolt, according to articles published in The Capital. He pleaded guilty for a reduced charge of manslaughter.

After he was convicted in the Riley slaying, Annapolis police charged him with Myer's killing. Officers said that Myer was bludgeoned during a robbery in 1982, and McCullough was placed at the scene of the murder. McCullough entered an Alford plea to manslaughter, maintaining that he did not kill Myer, but acknowledging there was evidence to convict him. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, serving seven years of concurrent sentences for both the Riley and Myer manslaughter cases.

More trouble
McCullough spent much of the 1990s in and out of prison for various charges, including forgery and burglary. He developed a live-in relationship with Annapolis lawyer Hollie S. Cutler, but when that ended he turned violent. Prosecutors said he did $20,000 worth of damage to her Riva home. He also was charged with assault after he drove a car into her vehicle.

"I believe once Patrick McCullough is released, he is going to immediately begin searching for me to kill me," Cutler wrote to the court, according to Capital archives. "He has not (been) changed, cured, rehabilitated or become less of a danger."

In April 2001, a month after being released from prison, McCullough met the 48-year-old Lawrence, who had a young son. He joined her at her Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and she got him carpentry jobs with her friends and took sign language classes.

But McCullough became possessive and their relationship unraveled. He began visiting her Waldorf home unannounced and calling frequently. There were times when Lawrence would send her nephew to drive by her home in the evening to make sure he wasn't there, according to "Deadly Charm." But she never filed a complaint with police or sought protective orders from the Charles County Sheriff's Office.

Six months after their meeting, the 41-year-old McCullough drove to Lawrence's home in a borrowed car with a stolen shotgun. As her 7-year-old son listened in another room, he shot and killed Lawrence, then turned the gun on himself, Charles County authorities said.

This book marks the second time the Vernons have written about serial killers. In "Deadly Lust," they wrote about a serial killer who got sexual pleasure from torturing and killing. McCullough doesn't fit that mold, however, since "his killings sprang not from lust, but from his uncontrollable anger and his total inability to accept rejection," they write in the book.

"I do anything I can to make people understand how difficult it is for deaf people," said McCay, whose late wife was deaf. "Not only in prison, but just in general."
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
Very interesting thread....I haven't heard of this man or read the book, but I'm heading out to the Library this week to see if I can find it....anyone know if the Library would have the book??
 

rolling7

New Member
Very interesting thread....I haven't heard of this man or read the book, but I'm heading out to the Library this week to see if I can find it....anyone know if the Library would have the book??
tRIED TO FIND IT AT MY LIBRARY AND THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.....NO LUCK....BUT AMAZON.COM HAS IT FOR $9.99....WILL ORDER MY OWN COPY
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
Wow...I never heard of him...sounds like a fascinating read despite the ugly history.
 

Bobengel

New Member
Was unaware of Patrick's life being put to print. Patrick grew up in my neighborhood. We were the same age and I have many childhood memories of him. I will be getting the book as soon as I am able.
 

stefmiller428

New Member
Patrick McCullough

I was at the trial of Patrick with my grandmother Goldie McCullough. It is very unfortunate that his parents did not get him the help that he needed when he was young. It is also unfortunate that the writers of the book did not interview his defense attorney and insure all of the facts were straight. I spent years visiting Patrick and spending time with him at my parents house after he was released. He cared very much for his family and was never able to recover from being abandoned by his parents. It certainly does not excuse his behavior but things could have been very different if anyone had recognized his condition when he was young. I know there was barely a dry eye in the courtroom the day he stood up to tell his side of what happened with Clint Riley.
 

Bottesini

Old Deaf Ranter
Premium Member
I was at the trial of Patrick with my grandmother Goldie McCullough. It is very unfortunate that his parents did not get him the help that he needed when he was young. It is also unfortunate that the writers of the book did not interview his defense attorney and insure all of the facts were straight. I spent years visiting Patrick and spending time with him at my parents house after he was released. He cared very much for his family and was never able to recover from being abandoned by his parents. It certainly does not excuse his behavior but things could have been very different if anyone had recognized his condition when he was young. I know there was barely a dry eye in the courtroom the day he stood up to tell his side of what happened with Clint Riley.
What help do you think there is for sociopathic personality?
 
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