The “Torso Killer,” a serial killer Richard Cottingham already found guilty of 11 murders, admitted on Monday that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he also murdered five women on Long Island.
For the murder of 23-year-old Diane Cusick, who was killed in February 1968 after purchasing shoes at the Green Acres Mall in Nassau County, Richard Cottingham was given a 25-year to life sentence on Monday.
Cottingham was granted immunity from prosecution for the other four murders as part of a plea agreement. The 76-year-old prisoner watched the hearing online from a jail in New Jersey.
“Today is one of the most emotional days we’ve ever had in the Nassau County district attorney’s office,” District Attorney Anne Donnelly said at a news conference where she was joined by several family members of Cottingham’s victims. “In the case of Diane Cusick, her family has waited nearly 55 years for someone to be held accountable for her death.”
Donnelly said Cottingham, believed to be one of the United States’ most prolific serial killers, “has caused irreparable harm to so many people and so many families, there’s almost nothing I can say to give comfort to anyone.”
He may have been involved in up to 100 homicides. Since 1980, he has been a prisoner. He is referred to as the “Torso Killer” because, according to officials, he allegedly severed the heads and limbs of some of his victims.
Authorities believe that when Cottingham followed Cusick to her car after she left her job at a children’s dance studio, Cusick stopped at the mall to buy a pair of shoes. They think he pretended to be a security guard or police officer, accused the 98-pound (44-kg) woman of stealing, and then beat her up. On February 16, 1968, Cusick’s body was discovered.
Cusick had been battered in the face and head and was smothered, according to the medical examiner. She had cuts from self-defense on her hands, and investigators were able to gather DNA evidence there. However, DNA testing was nonexistent at the time.
When Cottingham pleaded guilty to a murder in New Jersey in 2016, his DNA was added to a global database. In 2021, Nassau County police started conducting DNA tests once more on the cases involving the murdered women and discovered a match to Cottingham.
Earlier life of Richard Cottingham, Where is he from? What about the family members
The first of four children, Cottingham was born in Mott Haven, Bronx, New York City, on November 25, 1946. His family relocated to River Vale, New Jersey in 1956 after moving to Dumont, New Jersey, in 1948.
Cottingham earned his high school diploma from Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey, in 1964.
Richard Cottingham’s Personal life, Is he married? Wife
Cottingham wed on May 3, 1970, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Queens Village, New York. Two boys and a girl were among his and his wife’s three offspring. His wife requested a divorce in April 1978 on the grounds of “abandonment” and “mental abuse” (refusing to have sex with her after the birth of their third child, staying out until early morning, and leaving her with insufficient household funds).
After his arrest in May 1980, his wife withdrew the divorce petition. She did not resubmit it until after his first trial in New Jersey, where he was found guilty.
Does Richard Cottingham have any other Criminals records?
After completing high school, Cottingham began working for Metropolitan Life, where his father was a vice-president, in 1964 in the company’s Manhattan headquarters office on Madison Avenue. After taking computer courses, he eventually progressed from working in the mail room to operating mainframe computers.
He started working as a computer operator for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in October 1966 and remained there until his arrest in 1980. Both men have denied knowing one another, and there is no proof that they were acquainted before Cottingham began working at Blue Cross with fugitive serial killer Rodney Alcala, the “Dating Game Killer,” who was residing in New York in 1969 and using the identity “John Berger.”