NJ hospital could be liable for inmate’s escape, alleged murder

viviana tulli
David Goodell, inset, allegedly killed Garfield woman Vivian Tulli. Credit: New Jersey Department of Corrections / Facebook

A judge last week ruled that a Newark, N.J., hospital could be liable for the escape of inmate David Goodell, who received treatment there after allegedly faking a seizure and who police said went on to kill 21-year-old Viviana Tulli in Garfield.

Tulli’s sister and estate administrator Estella Tulli-Makowski in September of 2012 filed a suit in Essex County Superior Court against the state of New Jersey, the state Department of Corrections and parole board, the Department of Public Safety, Newark halfway house Logan Hall and its for-profit operator Community Education Centers.

The suit also names the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the UMDNJ-Hospital, where Goodell was treated in 2010 after allegedly faking a seizure at Logan Hall, part of a CEC-operated halfway house system the complaint claims is “horribly mismanaged and has experienced an ‘inordinate’ number of prisoner escapes.”

A federal judge last Monday dismissed the claims against the state defendants, ruling they sufficiently proved they are public entities and therefore can’t be held liable for injuries sustained as a result of inmate escapes.

But the UMDNJ-Hospital could still face penalties for the escape of Goodell, who was on Aug. 29, 2010, escorted to the hospital by an unarmed CEC employee after “faking” a seizure at Logan Hall, where he was transferred in February after pleading guilty two years prior to assaulting his girlfriend and receiving a four-year prison term.

Goodell escaped from the hospital the night of Aug. 29. Tulli was dead within 24 hours.

Police said witnesses in a high school parking lot reported seeing Goodell, disoriented and covered in blood.

When officers arrived, he allegedly jumped into a car – later determined to belong to Tulli – and led police on a chase that only ended when he rammed their cars.

Investigators allegedly found Goodell inside the vehicle bleeding from the wrists due to an apparent suicide attempt.

Tulli’s lifeless body was in the passenger seat.

Prosecutors claim Goodell suffocated Tulli because she rejected his romantic advances, according to court filings.

A Bergen County grand jury in 2011 indicted Goodell for Tulli’s murder.


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