Ex-officer gets life as killer

January 27, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

Calling James Allan Kulbicki a threat to society, a Baltimore County judge yesterday sentenced the former Baltimore City police sergeant to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing a woman who bore him a child during an adulterous, three-year affair.

Judge John Grason Turnbull II also blasted Kulbicki, 38, for "the arrogance he has shown."

Kulbicki was convicted in October of the first-degree murder of Gina Marie Nueslein, 22. He had been ordered to begin child-support payments after a losing attempt to contest the paternity of his son, Michael, now 2 1/2 .

Judge Turnbull II said Kulbicki killed Ms. Nueslein because she had begun to break away from him. Kulbicki "lost the control of the victim that he demanded -- and she paid for it with her life, leaving an innocent child without a mother [or] a father," he said.

Ms. Nueslein disappeared sometime after 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 9, 1993, when she left her home in the 3300 block of Ramona Ave. for the half-mile walk to her job at a nearby Royal Farm store.

The next morning, a park employee found her body behind a trash can near the archery building in Gunpowder State Park. She had been shot in the head at point-blank range.

During a motion for a new trial yesterday, a new defense witness said he saw a young man in a black pickup truck at the park, probably the day Ms. Nueslein's body was discovered. Judge Turnbull ruled that the account was unlikely to affect the verdict because the witness wasn't certain about the date, varied his descriptions of the man and the truck, and had put off contacting the police.

In asking for the no-parole sentence, Deputy State's Attorney Sue A. Schenning said Kulbicki showed "absolute cold-bloodedness and no remorse," and in a presentence interview dismissed as "a sexual fling" his years with Ms. Nueslein. Ms. Schenning wondered aloud what the Nuesleins will tell Michael.

"When we look at that innocent little boy [and think] what the horror of the truth will do to him, we are sick to the core," she said.

When his chance to speak came, Kulbicki shouted and pointed his finger in the air as he flipped through a written statement. He critiqued the evidence against him and claimed he was being discriminated against "because I'm a cop."

He also turned to the Nuesleins, expressed sympathy for them and said: "I have no problem looking at the victim's family today because I did not commit that crime. . . . The truth is, if I wanted to commit a homicide, I'd be smart enough not to use my truck. I'd be smart enough to hide the body."

Judge Turnbull also gave Kulbicki 20 years for using a handgun. That sentence runs consecutive to the no-parole sentence. The judge also said he would recommend protective custody for Kulbicki who, according to his attorneys, has received death threats while in jail.

After the sentencing, Ms. Nueslein's father, Joseph C. Nueslein, said, "I'm just glad it's over with." In response to Kulbicki's pleas, he said, "I wondered whether Gina begged for her life like he begged for his."

The family has agreed to cooperate in the production of a television movie or mini-series based on the case "for Michael's sake," he said. "They guaranteed it would be a good story, for Gina's sake."

Defense attorney Henry L. Belsky said he would not let Kulbicki make any statements in connection with the projected CBS mini-series.

"If they want to meet with him to get a feel of who he is, that's OK," he said. "But we have an appeal pending, and I think it's a good appeal and we're not about to say anything about the facts of the case. If we get a retrial, it could be used against him."

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