MINEOLA, N.Y. (PIX11) – Richard Cottingham, the jailed serial killer who once claimed he’d killed about 100 women, admitted on Monday to five Long Island murders, four of them from 1972 and 1973.
Appearing virtually from South Woods prison in New Jersey, Cottingham, 76, admitted killing five women in Nassau County, four by strangulation.
Cottingham, who was dubbed the “Torso Killer,” was indicted for murder in June after DNA tied him to the 1968 rape and strangulation of Diane Cusick, a 23-year-old mother and dance teacher. Her parents found the woman’s body in the back seat of her white Plymouth Valiant at 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. She said her late grandparents literally had her step into her mom’s shoes, wiping memories of Diane from home.
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.
Cottingham also admitted to fatally stabbing Sheila Hyman in 1973 at home in North Woodmere. He admitted to strangling Maritza Rosada Nieves in July 1973.
Judge Karen Fink sentenced Cottingham to 25 years to life in prison in connection with Cusick’s death. He had an agreement with the office of Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly not to be prosecuted for the other four murders.