MINEOLA, N.Y. (WPIX) – Richard Cottingham, the imprisoned serial killer and rapist who once claimed he’d killed about 100 women, admitted Monday to five Long Island murders, including one in 1968 and four others from the 1970s.
Appearing virtually from South Woods prison in New Jersey, Cottingham, 76, admitted killing five women in Nassau County, New York, four by strangulation.
Cottingham, who was dubbed the “Torso Killer” because he dismembered his victims, admitted Monday to killing Diane Cusick outside a Long Island shopping mall in 1968.
He was indicted for murder in June after DNA tied him to the rape and strangulation of Cusick, a 23-year-old mother and dance teacher. The woman’s parents found her body in the back seat of her white Plymouth Valiant at the suburban Green Acres Mall after she failed to come home from shopping.
Cusick was the mother of a 3-year-old daughter, Darlene, who was present in court Monday.
Cottingham also confessed to the 1972 strangulations of Mary Beth Heinz and Laverne Moye three months apart. He said he threw the bodies of both women off a bridge in Rockville Centre, New York.
Cottingham also admitted to fatally stabbing Sheila Heiman in 1973 at home in North Woodmere, New York. He admitted to strangling Maritza Rosada Nieves in July 1973.
Cottingham has been convicted of a number of murders in New Jersey and in New York. He has claimed he’s responsible for up to 100 homicides, but he’s only been officially linked to a dozen so far.
Judge Karen Fink sentenced Cottingham to 25 years to life in prison in connection with Cusick’s death. Cottingham had an agreement with the office of Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly not to be prosecuted for the other four murders.