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Deadly Charm

The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer

McKay Vernon and Marie Vernon

Publication Year: 2010

From the day he was born, Patrick McCullough faced hardships and reacted with untempered anger. His mother, a soon-to-be-divorced military wife, was late to realize that he was deaf and never learned how to handle his outbursts. Eventually, she abandoned him by petitioning for him to be a ward of the state. Stints in mental institutions and dismissals from several schools punctuated the rest of McCullough=s early years. Despite this severe childhood, no one could have predicted the outcome of his life described in Deadly Charm: The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer. Authors McCay and Marie Vernon present a compelling story about McCullough, a strikingly handsome man with a winning personality. His charm was endearing, but his incendiary temper resulted in increasing aggression and abuse. Eventually, he was convicted for the murder of two men. Yet, McCullough ingratiated himself with the court and served only seven years in prison. Once free again, he resumed his pattern of sweetness and mayhem. He beguiled sympathetic women whom he then abused and stalked. Finally, his rage culminated in a crescendo of destruction. Deadly Charm depicts a deaf serial killer driven by frustration and violence and leaves much to consider. Did McCullough=s deafness exacerbate his lethally violent nature? Perhaps his vicious impulses could have been constrained if his time in mental institutions had been more productive than his time in prison.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page

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pp. ix-xi

So far as can be determined, Patrick McCullough was the first and only deaf man ever to be identified as a serial killer. Ironically, one of the most intriguing aspects of Patrick’s personality was that, in spite of his deafness, his lack of education, and his limited prospects, he exerted a magnetic appeal ...

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1. October 1982: Clint Come Home

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pp. 1

The unfinished hull of the sailboat hoisted onto the roof of the Yankee Yacht Carpentry Shop bore large black letters that read “CLINT COME HOME!” The dilapidated building beneath the sailboat sat empty, and no boats were tied up at its pier waiting for repairs. From time to time, the brisk ...

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2. July 1979: On the Waterfront

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pp. 2-6

Yankee Yacht Carpentry, easily accessible from a dock that extended into Spa Creek, provided a convenient place for boaters to obtain repairs or simply hang out and talk shop with its gregarious owner, Clint Riley. While Clint shaped a tiller or spliced a handrail, his customers settled into beat-up ...

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3. July 1979 to February 1980: Man About Town

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pp. 7-17

The same day Clint Riley hired Patrick McCullough as his assistant, the young man retrieved his meager belongings from his girlfriend’s apartment, parked his motorcycle outside the Yankee Yacht Carpentry Shop, and moved in with his boss. At first things seemed to go well, although the living ...

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4. February 8, 1980: The Morning After

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pp. 18-27

February 8 dawned windy and cold over Annapolis. Early risers who turned on the news heard that President Jimmy Carter was calling for the draft registration of women and that the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy had been convicted and sentenced to death for a third rape and murder—his ...

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5. March 1980: Under Suspicion, and a Night of Rampage

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pp. 28-33

Patrick McCullough didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Now that his boss, Clint Riley, was gone, he had no job, no place to live, and very little money. Marilyn Riley had locked up the Yankee Yacht Carpentry shop and told him he could no longer stay there. Temporarily, he moved in with his ...

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6. 1980: Dead or Alive?

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pp. 34-41

Following his arrest, Patrick was transported to the Anne Arundel County Detention Center and charged with breaking and entering and carrying a weapon with intent to do bodily harm. The following day he was released on his own recognizance to await ...

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7. 1980: Sparks of Suspicion

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pp. 42-46

As a result of his wild rampage in the week following Clint Riley’s disappearance, plus the disturbing facts presented at his pretrial hearing, Patrick remained confined in the Anne Arundel Detention Center awaiting his trial date of April 16, 1980. The charges against him included breaking and ...

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8. January 1960: An Ominous Beginning

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pp. 47-50

Patrick’s parents, twenty-four-year-old June and twenty-seven- year-old Glen McCullough were a military couple, stationed far from home and family. Glen McCullough’s assignment to Fort Richardson in Alaska meant that the couple and their two children, Glen Jr., seven, and Jeanie, five, ...

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9. 1961–1962: Patrick’s First Years

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pp. 51-56

With their newborn infant finally on the road to recovery from the trauma of Rh incompatibility, Patrick’s parents hoped his difficulties were behind him and that they could begin to enjoy their new family member. By the age of three months, Patrick was doing fairly well, although he tired ...

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10. 1961–1965: A Destructive Child

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pp. 57-63

When Patrick was a year and a half old, his mother enrolled him in the nearby Tinker Bell Nursery, hoping that socialization with other children would improve his behavior and that his absence for a few hours a day would give her some relief. This choice was less than ideal—the nursery ...

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11. 1965: A Traumatic Separation

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pp. 64-72

At the court hearing, June McCullough reported to the judge that five-year-old Patrick was “severely hyperactive, had temper tantrums, and was beyond her control.” Her description was solidly backed by medical opinions, along with records from various agencies she’d consulted and from Tinker ...

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12. 1967–1975: Growing Up in Trouble

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pp. 73-85

At age six and a half, Patrick McCullough was discharged from Rosewood, and he returned home. For a time, the McCullough household was relatively peaceful. Fear of being returned to Rosewood and enduring another separation from his family motivated Patrick to make a greater effort to control ...

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13. 1975: Memorial Day Disaster

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pp. 86-91

With Patrick’s dismissal from the Maryland School for the Deaf, he was once again living at home. Within days of his return the household was in turmoil, and he was out of control. After continued episodes of destroyed possessions, physical attacks on family members, and shouted ...

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14. 1975–1978: Chance for a New Beginning

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pp. 92-100

If Patrick’s removal brought a measure of peace to the McCullough household, the effect of his arrival at Crownsville was the opposite. Aware of the freedom he had lost— including his beloved motorcycle—Patrick became so aggressive that even Crownsville’s experienced staff found it ...

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15. January 1978: A Second Chance

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pp. 101-107

Despite Patrick’s fury upon being returned to Crownsville, his stay there was brief. A few weeks later, on January 25, 1978, he reached age of eighteen and was discharged from the hospital, no longer a ward of the state. In his discharge diagnosis, Dr. F. E. McCannon stated: “Deaf mute with Explosive ...

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16. 1978–1980: Troubled Waters

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pp. 108-113

Patrick McCullough’s new job and his exuberance at his newfound freedom in Annapolis ended abruptly with Clint Riley’s disappearance, and his life began a rapid downward spiral. With the Yankee Yacht Carpentry Shop locked and barred against him, he had no permanent home. Few ...

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17. February 1982: Parking Garage Attendant Murdered

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pp. 114-121

Clinton Riley had been a popular figure around Annapolis, frequenting the local bars where his casual, easygoing personality won him many friends. Forty-one-year-old John Porter Myer, also an Annapolis resident, was Riley’s exact opposite. Myer, a parking garage attendant, was a loner, an ...

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18. 1982: On the Trail of a Bloody Weapon

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pp. 122-129

When Patrick McCullough began working at the Noah Hillman Parking Garage, he was no stranger to the other employees, as he frequently stopped by there en route to the house he shared with Rose Marie Harriman on nearby Market Street. Garage employee Jeffrey Parnell noted that before ...

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19. 1982: Follow-up on the Myer Investigation

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pp. 130-144

Nearly a year after John Myer’s death, police were still continuing the search for clues in the case. More and more their attention focused on Patrick McCullough as the probable killer. In addition to employees at the garage, they interviewed a number of people in the community who had ...

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20. September 1982: The Beginning of a Romance

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pp. 145-150

On a crisp autumn day, twenty-seven-year old Marian Escalante, a nurse at a Washington, D.C., hospital, decided to spend her free afternoon visiting nearby Annapolis. After shopping and browsing through the stores, she stopped for lunch at Chick and Ruth’s Deli, a popular eatery on Main ...

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21. October 1982: The Corpus Delicti

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pp. 151-154

The terrain of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a peninsula that stretches between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, is distinct from the hilly western side of the bay. Immediately upon crossing the bridge, one faces miles and miles of flat fertile fields stretching to the horizon, punctuated by myriad ...

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22. 1983: The End of a Romance

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pp. 155-163

Marian Escalante and Patrick McCullough had been together for seven months. By this time Marian had begun to view her partner more objectively and less through the rose colored glasses of a woman in love. With this clearer perception of Patrick’s true nature, her belief in his innocence started ...

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23. February 1985: The Riley Murder Trial

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pp. 164-171

Patrick McCullough, once again confined to the Anne Arundel County jail, awaited trial on first- and second-degree murder charges for the death of Clinton Riley. The trial, which began more than four years after Riley’s death, generated extensive press coverage from local and national ...

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24. 1985: More Interrogation

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pp. 172-175

Patrick’s conviction of manslaughter in the Clinton Riley case caused investigators to focus even more closely on him as the prime suspect in John Myer’s murder. Several months after his conviction, Detective Barr and Investigator Cordel appeared at the jail to again question him regarding that ...

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25. The Myer Case: Trial and Sentencing

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pp. 176-182

There had been no witnesses to John Myer’s murder. As police and prosecutors prepared for trial, they faced the complex task of building a case based primarily on circumstantial evidence. A major hurdle involved establishing a motive for the crime. Robbery was one possibility they explored, although ...

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26. 1986–1993: Seven Years behind Bars

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pp. 183-199

It is difficult to imagine the emotions of twenty-six-year-old Patrick McCullough as he was transported the short distance from the Anne Arundel County Detention Center to the looming fortress of Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup (MCIJ). Fear and trepidation surely dominated his thoughts on ...

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27. 1995–2000: The Attorney and the Carpenter

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pp. 200-205

Following his parole from prison, Patrick McCullough returned to Annapolis. By the following February, he was in trouble again, this time for forging checks he had stolen to support his cocaine addiction. With no money to hire an attorney, he once again needed the services of a public ...

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28. Years of Incarceration

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pp. 206-213

Patrick McCullough’s release from the Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup in 2001 would mark his final imprisonment. He was now forty-one years old, and much of his adult life had been spent behind bars. A look at the various types and lengths of his incarcerations offers an insight ...

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29. 2001: Freedom and a New Romance

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pp. 214-221

Life for forty-one-year-old Patrick McCullough was suddenly looking much brighter. His friends Gerald Martella and Pam Volm had hired him to work in their company, Annapolis Carpentry Contractors, Incorporated. The couple had employed Patrick prior to his prison sentence, and they welcomed ...

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30. Dear Patrick . . .

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pp. 222-226

By the time Thanksgiving 2001 arrived, Randi Lawrence could no longer tolerate Patrick McCullough’s possessiveness. On November 27, after deciding to end the affair once and for all, she wrote him a five-page letter in which she explained as clearly and concisely as possible that she wished to ...

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31. The Aftermath of Tragedy

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pp. 227-234

After securing the crime scene, Officer Donald Stahl III, arranged for Randi’s son to be transported to headquarters, where David recounted for detectives what he knew of his mother’s relationship with Patrick and the events leading up to the murder. David said Patrick and his mother had been ...

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32. In Memoriam

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pp. 235-238

At Randi Lawrence’s funeral, a police escort accompanied her remains, and hundreds of mourners swarmed into Immanuel United Methodist Church in Brandywine, Maryland, to share their grief, shock, and bewilderment at her untimely passing. There, surrounded by masses of flowers and ...


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pp. 239-241

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684487
E-ISBN-10: 1563684489
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563684432
Print-ISBN-10: 1563684438

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 20 photos, 3 illustrations
Publication Year: 2010